The Week in Chemistry: US spot PE, PP trading strong during week ended Aug. 11, bringing prices up US$0.01/lb on average; global caustic soda prices poised to rise as producers cut production rates, China propylene producers delay new plant startups

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LOS ANGELES , August 18, 2023 () –


US Resins

US spot PE and PP resin prices increased by US$0.01/lb during the week ended August 11 amid bullish sentiment, according to the Plastics Exchange update.

Solid PE trading was supported by improved demand, with LLDPE injection and film grades leading as top sellers. Strong activity was also seen in LDPE resins for film and HDPE for blow molding.

PP trading also improved from previous, slower weeks. 

While prime grades increased by about a cent, off-grade resins made gains of up to several cents after trading at significant discounts.

The primary source of this information is The Plastics Exchange.


Global Caustic Soda

Global caustic soda prices poised to begin rising, bucking declines earlier in the year as many Asian producers reduce their production rates, Shin-Etsu officials say.

European chlor-alkali producers also reduced their operating rates, bringing them to 61.7% in June compared to 71% a year earlier, according to EuroChlor data.

The reduced production should be significant enough to improve prices despite sluggish demand that has persisted throughout 2023, Shin-Etsu noted.

US spot export caustic soda prices were assessed on August 1 at US$350/dry tonne FOB USG, a decrease of US$100/dry tonne week-on-week, according to Platts data.

Spot export PVC was assessed at US$755/tonne FAS Houston on August 2.

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


China LPG, Propylene Dynamics

Propane demand growth in China this year may be subdued as a result of slow demand downstream, according to reporting by S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Adding to the trend, many new PDH plants have delayed their startup due to challenging macroeconomic conditions. 

A total of 11 new plants with propylene capacity of 6.3 million tonnes/year were initially scheduled to start in 2023. Currently, just four have started. 

Some analysts expect most of the projects will come online before the year ends, with a few postponed until 2024.

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

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