18 October 2013 10:19 [Source: ICIS news]
By Linda Naylor
LONDON (ICIS)--Polyethylene (PE) players in Dusseldorf, Germany, have been giving their impressions of K2013 so far, with buyers and sellers taking advantage of being able to press the flesh on the third day of the week-long plastics fair.
“It’s been really useful to be able to sit down with our customers and explain things face to face,” said one supplier.
Pricing discussions are not at the forefront between producers and their regular suppliers.
“Discussions are more about 2014 contracts than current pricing,” said a large PE buyer.
Spot prices were under discussion, however, and sources agreed that most prices were slipping. Much depended on the grade and seller in question. Traders are now up against end-year volume rebates that buyers have in place with their regular suppliers.
A discount is applied at the end of the year on total annual volumes, so traders’ prices have to be pretty keen to compete with this.
High density polyethylene (HDPE) buyers were looking at potential volumes from North America in 2014, which they expected to remain tight because of pipeline issues that were expected to last several months.
In contrast, ample HDPE quantities are being offered from the Middle East following a build-up of product caused during port congestion issues in Saudi Arabia in the third quarter. Many sellers lost volume and buyers said HDPE was now being widely offered at attractive prices.
Buyers said they had been informed by INEOS that the Grangemouth, UK, shutdown would not pose problems at key accounts, as long as the shutdown there did not last too long.
Naphtha was also a point of discussion, leading to questions over where the November ethylene contract might land. Sources had expected a reduction in the November ethylene contract but naphtha’s recent upward trend was beginning to lead to doubts over the certainty of a significant reduction.
Monomer producers usually look at the average monthly naphtha price to determine where they expect ethylene to settle, and PE producer sources said it was too early to tell where this might be.
Most of the entertaining that goes on at K was done on Thursday evening with many people planning to make their way back home at close of business on Friday.
PE pricing for October will begin in earnest at some accounts next week.
“I will finalise my prices on Monday,” said another buyer, while many buyers in the low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) markets will leave that task until the end of the month and settle prices retroactively.
K2013 began on 16 October and runs until the 23rd.
($1 = €0.74)
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