The Week in Chemistry: US PE spot prices down US$0.01/lb during week of April 24, PP down US$0.02/lb, Q1 PP sales down 7.3% year-over-year, boosting inventories; North American chemical railcar traffic for week of April 24 down 1.3% year-over-year

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , May 5, 2023 () –


US Resins: Week of April 24

Headed into May, resin markets are anticipating lower asking prices from the US, spurring more export demand.

Meanwhile, in the final week of April, PE availability increased, with noteworthy improvement in HDPE blow molding and injection grades. Meanwhile, some melt HDPE resins remained under tighter supply conditions.

Overall, spot PE grades lost about US$0.01/lb during the week for a total decrease of US$0.02/lb in the month of April. 

However, high molecular weight HDPE increased US$0.07/lb during the period, as it was most affected by production issues.

PP spot prices fell by US$0.02/lb in the last week of April, bringing the month’s total decreases to US$0.06/lb.

Attempts at adding a margin-boosting PP contract increase did not go through in April.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.

US Resins: Q1

US demand for PE and PP was weak throughout the first quarter of 2023, sending PP inventories higher in April despite lower average industry operating rates.

In the first quarter, PP sales were down 7.3% year-over-year. 

Domestic PE sales fell 8.1% year-over-year, led by LDPE, which fell 9.1%.

Meanwhile, export sales increased 18.4% year-over-year, bringing overall PE sales up 1.4% despite the lower domestic figures.

Average ethylene production costs fell by about US$0.02/lb between February and March and are expected to decrease further in April. 

Propylene monomer costs also fell, with contracts down US$0.11/lb in April.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.

North American Chemical Rail Traffic

North American chemical railcar traffic fell 1.3% year-over-year in the week ended April 29, landing at 47,654 loadings.

Year-to-date, traffic fell 3.2% year-over-year to 776,704 loadings. 

In the US, year-to-date traffic fell 6.0% to 552,069.

The primary source of this information is MRC.

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