Europe spot PE prices stable to slightly firmer in quiet market

14 May 2014 14:42  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European polyethylene (PE) spot prices are stable to very slightly higher in some cases in a quiet market, sources said on Wednesday.

“I can get €1,260 [/tonne] for LLDPE [linear low density polyethylene] C4,” said one trader that had sold the same product last week at €1,250/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a net basis.

C4 is the most commodity of LLDPE grades, using butene as a co-monomer alongside ethylene.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) sales were talked in a wider range, with some sellers saying they could now achieve a level of €1,300/tonne FD NWE in some cases, a price that most sellers said was unattainable last week. Some trucks are still moving below this, however, and a range of €1,280-1,290/tonne was seen as normal, with larger buyers able to get slightly lower levels.

Some sources expected the strengthening of naphtha prices to have a firming effect on PE prices in May, but monthly PE prices were not concluded and buyers and sellers were often far apart as sellers sought increases, while buyers, who see no shortages, are relaxed and expect a rollover from April.

Several point out that the spread between ethylene and PE rose by €15/tonne for LDPE and LLDPE sales in April, and that if prices roll over in May, producers will gain the €5/tonne of the ethylene contract decrease.

There is also already speculation over the June ethylene contract price among PE players. They see high naphtha prices supporting the contract, but also questioned what effect low ethylene spot prices, currently assessed at €870-890/tonne FD NWE, could have on the June contract.

On Wednesday morning naphtha prices were assessed at $952/tonne CIF (cost insurance freight) NWE.

In any case, few PE buyers expect the June ethylene contract to increase, and they see no shortages in PE availability in May, so they do not consider themselves under pressure to buy.

Some producers are continuing with higher targets for May PE monthly prices but most business is still under discussion.

PE is used widely in the packaging and household goods sectors, and also in the agricultural sector.

By: Linda Naylor
+44 20 8652 3214

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