US PP April contracts settle flat with propylene

20 April 2012 17:14  [Source: ICIS news]

PolypropyleneHOUSTON (ICIS)--US polypropylene (PP) contract prices settled flat for April, following a rollover in propylene contract prices, sources said on Friday.

US PP contract prices for April were at 88.50-90.50 cents/lb ($1,951-1995/tonne, €1,483-1,516/tonne) DEL (delivered) for homopolymer injection and raffia grade material, as assessed by ICIS.

Much of the PP market has a monomer-based contract that follows the monthly polymer grade propylene (PGP) cost. PGP prices held steady at 77.50 cents/lb for April.

Suppliers said they hoped the stability of a flat settlement would help improve demand.

"Right now that things seem to be stabilising a little, the hope is that customers will come back,'" said one producer. "But the demand isn't particularly strong."

Other market participants saw the rollover as a sign of inertia in the market.

"The market doesn't want to move at these levels, it doesn't want to perform," said one broker.  "The only way that I know of for things to change is to see the pricing come down, and I have no indication that is going to happen next month."

While contract prices were stable, buyers said there were plenty of discounted offers for generic prime spot material.

One buyer said it bought several railcars of what it called "barefoot prime" homopolymer PP at between 72-73 cents/lb.

Major North American PP producers include LyondellBasell, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Total, Formosa, Braskem Americas, Pinnacle Polymers, ConocoPhillips and Flint Hills Resources.

US PP vs propylene chart($1=€0.76)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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