Europe July MLLDPE contracts down €50/tonne on growing availability

20 July 2011 11:13  [Source: ICIS news]

Europe July MLLDPE down on growing availabilityLONDON (ICIS)--Growing availability in the European metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) market has weighed heavily on July’s contract prices, forcing values to dip by €50–60/tonne ($70–85/tonne), market participants said on Wednesday.

Import pressure and a growing disparity between spot and contract values left producers with little choice but to offer reductions at a minimum of €50/tonne, according to several sources.

This left July C8 blown film grade MLLDPE contract prices at €1,500–1,550/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a gross basis, according to ICIS. Many market players felt the reductions could be on a higher level by the end of the month, with at least one buyer saying that it was looking to achieve the full upstream ethylene decrease of €95/tonne, or even a three-digit reduction.

“We have plenty of options, and there is no immediate need to buy,” the buyer noted.

Indeed, one producer conceded that the specialist nature of the product did not provide much of a shield against the downtrend, as MLLDPE exports from South America and southeast Asia were making their way into both the domestic European market and regions considered to be key European export markets, at competitive prices. 

This was echoed by a trader, who added: “Korean sellers are offering very low prices in regions like Russia; they are undercutting [Europeans] by as much as €200–250/tonne, offering around €1,400/tonne FD. Yes, you can argue that European product is of a higher quality, and there is usually a price premium for it, but this does not justify a €200/tonne price gap.”

As such, material earmarked for export has been pushed back into the already-lengthening domestic market. 

Exports into Europe are also available at levels of €1,330/tonne FCA (free carrier), according to several traders, with C8 blown film grade MLLDPE offered to consumers at around €1,400/tonne FD on a net spot basis. 

However, European sellers were optimistic that the recent upswing in Asian buying interest in the wider polyethylene (PE) market would extend to MLLDPE, which would bring an end to these competitive offers. One trader said: “Asian offers are already beginning to dry up.”

($1 = €0.71)

For more on metallocene, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Stephanie Wilson
+44 20 8652 3214

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