20 April 2012 18:38 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US polyethylene (PE) producer LyondellBasell announced it will split a proposed 7 cent/lb ($154/tonne, €117/tonne) increase between May and June.
The increase was originally announced in January, but had been pushed recently to April and then to May. Now, LyondellBasell said it would split that 7 cent/lb increase with 4 cents/lb in May and 3 cents/lb in June, according to a 20 April customer letter obtained by ICIS.
It was not clear whether other producers would follow with similar announcements.
Market participants suggested the move is a way to get the market talking again about price increases, rather than decreases.
Most producers have agreed to a rollover of prices in April, but some buyers are pushing for a decrease, rather than a flat settlement for the month.
The market momentum began to shift last week, when spot ethylene prices dropped by 10%, signalling that ethylene costs may have peaked for the year, said some buyers.
Lower feedstock costs, as well as continued soft demand in the domestic and export markets are reasons why PE prices should come down, the buyers said.
However, suppliers said it is just as likely that ethylene prices could increase again, particularly if ongoing cracker turnarounds are extended.
Current prices for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) butene were at 77-80 cents/lb DEL (delivered); low density polyethylene (LDPE) film prices were at 86-88 cents/lb DEL; and high density polyethylene (HDPE) blow moulding prices were at 75-77 cents/lb DEL, for small volume buyers, as assessed by ICIS.
($1 = €0.76)
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