LONDON (ICIS)--European linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) C4 (butene based) spot prices are still under downward pressure, with cast film prices trading at a discount below blown grades.
There was a wide spread in the market, however, and business in the mid-€1,000s/tonne DDP (delivered duty paid) was still possible.
However, larger accounts were often getting better deals, mainly from producers, as traders are unable to compete at such levels.
Jostling for market share began in March, as new imported volumes arrived from North America, and local sellers were unwilling to cede their place to newcomers.
It was not clear whether these early imports were the beginning of the long expected onslaught from new North American capacities, or pre-sales volumes for testing, but they were having a definite impact on European prices.
There have also been some imports of metallocene linear low density polyethylene (MLLDPE) coming from the new capacities, but buyers have been informed that no significant volumes would be following until well into the second half of 2018.
Uncertainty surrounding a potential trader war between the US and China was lending nervousness and caution to other regions.
Any potential import duty increases on US material into China could mean more material arriving in Europe.
Most of the new capacity coming on stream in North America is destined for export, with China a natural destination.
Most sources said it was too early to start considering such possibilities, but the arrival of the new C4 LLDPE already in Europe has been giving a hint of things to come.
LLDPE is used in packaging, the manufacture of household goods, and also in the agricultural industry.
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