Europe PP players await March monomer contract for price direction

20 February 2014 19:05 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Polypropylene (PP) prices in February have rolled over for the most part, and market participants are now waiting for the propylene contract to settle to give some direction for March pricing, sources said on Thursday.

High-end price levels sometimes lost a few euros in February, and low-end prices faced a mild amount of upward pressure, but the majority of business was done at a rollover.

“The market is fairly uneventful,” said one producer.

Buyers suffered no shortage of material, but sellers were also not in a position where they needed to push volumes onto the market.

LyondellBasell’s force majeure on deliveries of PP from its 210,000 tonne/year plant at Carrington in the UK remains in place, said buyers, and some said they had been obliged to change supplier to get hold of all they needed.

"We managed to get the volumes we needed,” said one buyer, “but we’re keeping an eye on that situation.”

There was still talk of a problem at Total’s PP site in Belgium but this was not confirmed.

Most sources are now waiting for the March propylene contract to settle, to give some direction to March PP prices. Several sellers said they expected a rollover, following the same trend in February.

Naphtha prices have rallied in recent weeks, but the dollar has weakened against the euro, mitigating much of the price rise in dollar-based naphtha.

One producer cautioned that PP demand was not particularly strong, and it was reduced output and a couple of production issues that kept the market in balance.

The spot market was steady, and business was thin. Some aggressive selling was heard from one source in particular below €1,200/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), but this was not thought to be representative of most business. Most sources quoted prices in the mid-€1,200s/tonne as more common.

PP is used widely in the household goods and packaging sectors. It is also used in the automotive industry.

By Linda Naylor