Europe polypropylene prices rolling over into February

13 February 2014 12:44 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European polypropylene (PP) prices are largely rolling over from January into February, in spite of efforts by some producers to lift them, sources said on Thursday.

“There’s no movement in either direction,” said a buyer. “They’re whistling in the wind if they think they can get prices up.”

Any potential upward movement seemed to centre on a €5/tonne move, and this was considered to be too small to cause any concern in the market.

The rollover in the February propylene monomer contract put the kibosh on any significant upward  price move, said sources, as it would be difficult for producers to shift prices against a backdrop of stable monomer.

Spot PP prices are more stable than in the associated polyethylene (PE) sector, and while some sources saw lower levels in February there was also an amount of stability as sellers were not under pressure to push volumes onto the market.

Prices for most spot business were still in the mid-€1,200s/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), in spite of some lower numbers talked here and there.

“I’ve been in the spot market this week and numbers have  moved back up to mid-January levels,” said one buyer that had been able to buy lower at the end of January.

Naphtha remains an area of focus for most players, both buyers and sellers, as the March propylene contract comes into view. Supply on propylene is tight, however, and sources felt that naphtha prices would have to drop significantly for it to have any effect in the PP upstream sector.

Naphtha closed at $909-910/tonne on Wednesday and at noon on Thursday it was assessed down slightly, to $905-907/tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) NWE (northwest Europe). It dipped below $900/tonne earlier in the month but has since traded above that level.

PP is used widely in the packaging and household goods sectors and also in the automotive industry. 

By Linda Naylor