US PE prices rising into Q2, driven by below-average supplier inventory, relatively high ethylene spot prices; PP prices may continue to decline, driven by higher supplier inventories in February because of reduced demand
LONDON , May 7, 2013 (ICIS Chemical Business (CBNB Abstracts)) – After price increases in early 2013, prices of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) in the US are conflicting heading into 2Q 2013. For all grades, PE prices rose by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne) in Jan 2013 then by another 4 cents/lb mostly for high density polyethylene (HDPE) in Feb. Mar 2013 contract prices for film grades of PE were settled at an increase of 4 cents/lb while prices of HDPE injection and blow moulding grades did not change. The price hikes were due to lower than the average supplier inventory and the relatively high ethylene spot prices that have stayed at more than 60 cents/lb. Another 4 cents/lb increase for 1 Apr is being initiated by producers but buyers are less supportive because of declining global prices. Prices for LLDPE butene film, LDPE film and HDPE blow moulding grades were at 74-76 cents/lb delivered (DEL), 83-85 cents/lb DEL and 72-74 cents/lb DEL, respectively after the Mar 2013 negotiations. PP prices increased by 21.5 cents/lb over Jan and Feb but fell by 6 cents/lb in Mar and may continue to fall through 2Q. Local demand for PP was affected by price increases with many orders cancelled except for minimum volumes which resulted to increase in supplier inventories by more than 100 M lbs (45,000 tonnes) in Feb. A graph, entitled US HDPE prices, shows blow molding, contract DEL prices in cents/lb from Mar 2012 to Feb 2013. Original Source: ICIS Chemical Business, http://www.icis.com/, Copyright Reed Business Information Limited 2013.