European polyethylene (PE) sellers are confident about the first half of 2017, but the situation is not so clear for the remainder of the year.
European PE prices are low in global terms, and this is expected to have an effect on the volume of material coming into Europe, particularly in the first half.
With imports limited and planned shutdowns maintaining a balance, sources said the main disturbance could come from North American imports, while admitting that these are likely to be delayed.
The chart on the right shows the ICIS mid-point Asian high density polyethylene (HDPE) blow-moulding CFR (cost & freight) price compared to the European spot price minus €50/tonne for costs and 6.5% import duty.
Get the latest PE price assessments and expert commentary to better understand the European PE markets through the ICIS PE Europe price report.
Polypropylene (PP) prices moved within a relatively narrow band throughout 2016, and were little affected by imports.
As 2016 progressed, and supply shortages – such as the one seen in 2015 – did not emerge, the spread between propylene and PP at freely negotiated accounts narrowed, causing producers to lose margins.
2017 has already seen some tightness that has led to higher prices, and producers are confident for the first half of the year at least.
The chart on the right shows southeast Asian homopolymer injection CFR prices in US dollars compared with European ICIS FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) spot prices, minus costs and a duty of 6.5%.
Get the latest PP price assessments and expert commentary to better understand the European PP markets through the ICIS PP Europe price report.
For more information and further insights, download our exclusive magazine featuring an in-depth market review for European PE and PP, with commentary on the likely outlook for 2017. In addition, view the European cracker turnaround infographic and new US onstream capacity infographic, all within the Polyolefins Market Outlook 2017.
Polyolefins: Markets reporter Melissa Hurley interviews senior editor Matt Tudball on the outlook for European polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) in 2017.
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