Europe PE prices languish as US sellers hike for October

Author: Linda Naylor

2020/09/18

LONDON (ICIS)--Polyethylene (PE) prices in Europe remain remarkably lacklustre in spite of higher numbers and less material offered from the US, puzzling some players.

US supplies remain tight amid ongoing production outages, with plants in Lake Charles, Louisiana, likely to remain down until mid-October.

September price increase initiatives are under discussion while additional increases have been nominated for October.

Export allocations are limited.

STILL SELLING
Yet there are sales in Europe still done with US material at levels lower than last month for C4 (butene based) linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), in particular for cast film.

Sources put this down to material from earlier imported lots being sold in some cases, as new offers are higher, if there is material available at all.

Many sources looking at Europe at present are puzzled at the low prices quoted, and wonder how long they can last.

While most net spot prices for C4 LLDPE are above €800/tonne, there is talk of lower prices which, according to some sources, come from new Russian capacities.

However, most sources said there were not prepared to sell at those levels; indeed, they cannot without losing money.

Prices for sales into the food packaging industry remain relatively solid, but cast grade industrial applications are not faring so well.

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LLDPE is used in packaging and in the agricultural industry.

Front page picture: Petrochemicals facilities in Louisiana, US; archive image 
Source: Gerald Herbert/AP/Shutterstock