Price and market trends: US polyethylene contracts settle flat

13 December 2013 15:04 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Buyers now seek price declines for December contracts

November contracts settled flat in the US polyethylene (PE) market, with balanced supply and producer export opportunities keeping prices from falling, sources said on 5 November.

The rollover for November is the second month of flat pricing in the PE market, following a 5 cent/lb ($110/tonne, €81/tonne) increase for all grades in September.

Buyers had been pushing for a decrease of up to 3 cents/lb, based on weak domestic demand and growing producer inventories.

However, rising global PE prices helped to create more of a window for export material from the US, which allowed producers to sell more of their excess inventories and preserve margin on domestic sales, sources said.

“Much to my chagrin, November is flat,” said one buyer, who said it is now hoping for a price decline in December. “All indications are that prices should go down at least 3 cents/lb, if not more.”

Another buyer said it is more likely that prices will remain flat in December, but said it believes there is a chance for a price decrease in January. The buyer said producers who were unable to offer extra material in November and December are now offering extra railcars for January.

Following the November settlement, prices for linear low density PE (LLDPE) butene film were at 79-81 cents/lb DEL (delivered), low density PE (LDPE) film prices were at 88-90 cents/lb DEL and high density PE (HDPE) blow moulding prices were at 79-81 cents/lb DEL, for small volume buyers, as assessed by ICIS.

By Michelle Klump