Dow Europe stops new orders for Oct LDPE amid strong demand

11 October 2010 16:45  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Dow Europe has stopped all new low density polyethylene (LDPE) sales for October, a company source said on Monday.

“We continue to have a very good order intake. Demand is extremely strong, much better in October than September, and customers are coming to us for additional volumes,” said the source.

European polyethylene (PE) prices in October were proving to be resilient in spite of expectations of price decreases from converters.

Demand was turning out to be better than expected for most grades, and LDPE in particular was tight.

Even high density PE (HDPE), which had been considered to be the poor relation of the PE family, was not showing major signs of weakness.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we had to pay more next month, “said a large HDPE injection buyer. “I just didn’t expect this.”

Another large buyer, this time of HDPE blowmoulding, said: “I can get all I planned to buy for October but if I need more I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it, and I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to get a price reduction this month.”

LDPE sales were estimated by one producer to be running at over 12% compared to 2009, while linear low density PE (LLDPE) was said to be around the same level of last year.

LDPE had tightened after a programme of closures of autoclave production in Europe in 2009, and while two new plants had come on stream in Europe, from SABIC in Wilton and Borealis in Sweden, the LDPE market was balanced.

New PE plants were rare in Europe, but in the Middle East new capacity was on stream, if delayed. Imports to Europe from that region were not the preferred route, however, and exports went to Asia whenever possible.

Data showed that material from Iran was making strong head roads into Asia in 2010, and while it was clearly trading briskly in Europe, volumes from Iran to Asia had grown at a fast pace, by more than 50% from the first half of 2009.

Asian PE demand was turning out be strong after the recent holidays, supported by higher crude and naphtha numbers.

LDPE net prices in Europe were still trading at €1,200-1,250/tonne ($1,680-1,750/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

PE producers in Europe include Dow, INEOS, Borealis, SABIC, LyondellBasell, Repsol, Polimeri Europa and Total Petrochemicals.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Linda Naylor
+44 20 8652 3214

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