Price and market trends: Europe spot PE sellers find May business slow

16 May 2014 10:01  [Source: ICB]

Polyethylene (PE) spot sellers in Europe are finding business slow in May, several said on 7 May.

PE prices are stable to slightly higher, depending on the grade and region.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) prices have edged up by €10-20/tonne in May, to €1,270-1,290/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

C4 (butene based) linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices are also up. “LLDPE has tightened,” said one seller that now saw prices at €1,260-1,270/tonne, up by €10-20/tonne over April.

Sources said SABIC’s planned maintenance shutdown at its Wilton, UK, 400,000 tonne/year LDPE plant, in line with the shutdown at the cracker at the site, was affecting LDPE availability.

The cracker is said to be down from 5 May to 22 June and most PE sources said PE was down in line with this, but there was no confirmation from SABIC.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) spot prices were proving hard to shift, according to most sellers, and prices around the €1,200-1,220/tonne FD NWE level were still in the market.

“We’ve had more enquiries for HDPE, but there’s no chance of bringing prices up,” said another seller.

Some producers in Europe are targeting higher prices in May, with some talking plus €30-50/tonne over April. Buyers are fairly relaxed. “There’s no shortage of anything,” said one. Another thought the possibility of paying more in May was not out of the question, however. “This market is not awash with product,” it said.

Monthly prices will only fully settle at the end of the month, but spot sellers were concerned that slow activity at this point in the month could continue throughout May.

By: Linda Naylor
+44 20 8652 3214

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