LONDON (ICIS)--European polypropylene (PP) spot prices are edging up on tighter availability, sources said on Wednesday.
“The lowest price copolymer I have been offered this week is €1,330 [tonne],” said one potential spot buyer whose last prime offers were below €1,300/tonne. “I haven’t bought because I can use near-to-prime product and it’s cheaper.”
Spot copolymer prices had been trading as low as €1,310/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) at the end of April, but this sort of price level was not only available at low-priced contracted accounts, and even there it was becoming less available, said sources.
Homopolymer PP prices were now trading at the €1,280-1,300/tonne level, on a net basis, from €1,260-1,290/tonne FD NWE in April.
Business was slow, however, and sources said higher prices were based on production cutbacks rather than very strong demand.
Propylene supply has been tight for some time, affecting PP output in Europe, and cracker cutbacks to control mainly the output of ethylene has had more of an impact on propylene.
A major upcoming planned maintenance shutdown in Europe, following propylene supply issues that have left inventories low, is expected to maintain a tightness in supply in the market.
Monthly prices have not yet fully settled for May, and the gap between buyers and sellers is still some way apart.
PP is used widely in packaging and the manufacture of household goods. It is also used in the automotive and hygiene industries.