Europe Total force majeure on HDPE and PP still in place

10 January 2014 11:41 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Total Petrochemicals’ force majeure on some high density polyethylene (HDPE) grades and polypropylene (PP) from the Gonfreville site in France remains in place, buyers said on Friday.

The company sent letters to its HDPE buyers on 30 December, informing them of legal restrictions on HDPE. This was later followed by a similar letter regarding PP deliveries from the Gonfreville site.

The issues are thought to be related to the cracker at Gonfreville and problems are widely thought to be ongoing.

European polyethylene (PE) and PP buyers are under heavy pressure to accept higher prices in January, and most buyers admit that it will be hard to avoid an increase at least in line with the €15-20/tonne ($20-27/tonne) hikes in upstream monomer contracts.

Sellers are generally targeting more than this, but it is not yet clear where prices for January will land.

Low density polyethylene (LDPE) remains the strongest PE grade, and is trading higher, at a minimum of €1,350/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a net basis. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) C4 is also higher, at €1,300-1,310/tonne FD NWE. HDPE is more patchy, and so is PP, although spot prices are now moving up, particularly in the homopolymer PP sector.

Sources said homopolymer injection PP is being offered at a minimum of €1,290-1,300/tonne FD NWE at present.

PE and PP are used widely in the packaging and household goods sectors. PP is also used in the automotive industry and PE in the agricultural sector.

By Linda Naylor