The Week in Chemistry: US spot PE prices for week ended July 21 flat to US$0.01/lb lower, PP prices steady, polymer-grade propylene settles slightly higher; global caustic soda conditions challenging, sending pricing downward, says Olin CEO

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , July 28, 2023 () –

US Resins

Trading in US commodity resin markets during the week ended on July 21 carried on at a healthy rate, though less active than in recent weeks, according to the Plastics Exchange report.

PE accounted for most of the volumes traded during the week, dominated by HDPE blow mold and LLDPE injection and film grades.

Prime PE spot prices averaged flat to one cent lower, dependent on the grade. 

Meanwhile, a US$0.03/lb contract increase proposed for July is seen as a preemptive move in case of any disruptions during hurricane season.

Spot PP trading was light, with prices holding steady as was seen earlier in July.

PP exports saw a boost in the wake of higher prices in Asia, in turn lending support to prices in the US.

The primary source of this information is The Plastics Exchange.

US Propylene

Polymer-grade propylene trading ran light during the week ended on July 21, the Plastics Exchange market update shows.

The weighted average of spot prices during the week settled slightly higher at US$0.323/lb.

Contract settlements are expected to remain at a similar level to June’s US$0.35/lb., holding a net increase of US$0.03/lb thus far in 2023.

The primary source of this information is The Plastics Exchange.

Global Caustic Soda

Olin CEO Scott Sutton gave a cautionary view of global chlor-alkali market, calling conditions ‘quite poor’ during the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call on July 28.

The company’s chlor-alkali and vinyls operations are not operating far above 50% capacity, the CEO noted.

Olin has been tapering back its participation in caustic soda markets since 2021, reducing its production capacity by about 1 million tonnes/year in the past two years. The strategy will likely slow the rate of declining caustic soda prices, Sutton added.

Spot export caustic soda prices were assessed at US$450/dry tonne FOB USG on July 25, according to Platts data. The price has fallen 43.7% since January.

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

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