The Week in Chemistry: US spot PE for week of Nov. 3 down slightly, PP October contracts up US$0.04/lb, ethylene deals seen at US$0.2125/lb on Oct. 30; Europe ethylene derivative producers announce production halts amid shrinking, negative margins

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LOS ANGELES , November 10, 2023 () –


US Resins: Week Ended Nov. 3, 2023

Spot resin trading started November at a slightly slower pace, with PE resin grades losing about half a cent while PP grades increased by the same amount.

Export demand from Asia decreased, but Latin American and European buyers kept a solid buying pace, though with somewhat lower offers.

PE saw more active trading than PP, with HDPE blow mold and LDPE injection grades as the dominant resins.

PP experienced upward pricing pressure as higher polymer-grade propylene costs passed through to PP processors.

PP contracts increased US$0.04/lb in October, bringing total gains to US$0.085/lb over the past two months.

The primary source of this information is The Plastics Exchange.

US Monomers: Week Ended Nov. 3, 2023

Monomer trading launched November with significant volumes traded.

Ethylene pricing eased to US$0.2125/lb. on Monday, October 30, down by about a quarter of a cent compared to the previous Friday. 

By Friday, November ethylene trades had decreased to US$0.2025/lb.

Propylene spot trades for polymer grade in October were done at US$0.465/lb. on Tuesday, up by about half a cent from the previous Friday.

Propylene deals for the second half of 2024 were completed at US$0.415/lb.

The primary source of this information is The Plastics Exchange.


Europe Ethylene Derivatives

European producers of ethylene derivatives including PET, PVC and vinyls, face weak market alongside thin to negative margins, according to reporting by S&P Global Platts.

In addition, oil prices drove upstream naphtha and ethylene higher in Q3, further weakening margins.

As a result, major producers are announcing temporary production outages.

Jbf Global announced on October 16 that it would temporarily shut its 430,000-tonne/year plant in Belgium. In addition to high production costs and weak demand, the company also cited high imports into Europe from Asia.

The outage will last until PET becomes profitable again, a company source said.

Chlorine and PVC traders are also experiencing unsustainably high operating rates. 

According to one producer, operators will not be able to continue with current conditions into 2024, and will likely close plants in the coming days and weeks.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.


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