Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 36

polymer prices

petrochemical feedstock contract prices June 2017-may 2018 (€/tonne)

ethylene
Propylene

Jun

Jul

Aug

sep

oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

mar

Apr

change
may Apr/mayE

1015

965

965

995

1025

1025

1057

1057

1077

1057

1067

1087

20

840

790

790

830

860

860

892

912

940

917

927

952

25

Styrene

1173

1200

1170

1360

1250

1160

1255

1265

1395

1450

1325

1285

-40

Benzene

737

695

645

655

671

702

847

792

735

730

702

711

9

Paraxylene

760

715

720

735

745

765

765

795

815

810

810

830

20

Source: Plastics News Europe

l/
l
D
p
e

While ethylene remains long, the market has edged towards
better balance, especially since there was a spate of product
exported from Europe in April. For May, the ethylene contract price edged €20/tonne higher due largely to a rise in
naphtha costs and rumoured cutbacks in cracker output.
L/LDPE producers expected to recoup the rise in feedstock costs by raising prices, but surplus supply and patchy
demand soon put paid to these plans. In some cases, con-

verters even managed to achieve small price rebates, €10/
tonne for LDPE and €5/tonne for LLDPE. Where prices were
already on the low side notations were unchanged from
April levels.
There is plenty of material available and traders were
known to be offering product at good prices. Demand was
quiet mainly as a result of the various public holidays during
May.

H
D
p
e

While ethylene remains long, the market has edged towards
better balance, especially since there was a spate of product
exported from Europe in April. For May, the ethylene contract
price edged €20/tonne higher due largely to a rise in naphtha
costs and rumoured cutbacks in cracker output.
HDPE producers were more hopeful for margin improvement than were their L/LDPE counterparts in May. Supply has
tightened and demand was good. HDPE producers called for

a price increase of between €30-40/tonne at the beginning
of the month. While notations increased by slightly more than
the rise in feedstock costs, they fell well short of their initial
target.
While European production is returning to normal, material availability remains tight. There was also an upswing in seasonal demand, although public holidays restricted converters'
output in May and buying activity.

p
p

For May, the propylene contract price was fixed €25/tonne
higher on account of rising naphtha costs, maintenance turnarounds at cracker plants and restrictions on cracker output.
Furthermore, the increased share of ethane as a feedstock to
European crackers has started to feed downstream, with
polypropylene emerging as an overall tighter market than
polyethylene.
PP producers' attempts to pass on the rise in feedstock costs

initially met firm resistance from converters and failed to gain
any momentum as the month progressed. Notations increased
on average by €15/tonne, which was some way short of the
increase in propylene costs.
There was a more than adequate material supply in May despite a number of maintenance turnarounds at polymer production plants. Demand was just a little below what would normally be expected during a month of numerous public holidays.

p
s

The May styrene monomer reference price fell €40/tonne,
which was less than expected after spot prices firmed towards end April. Following the cost settlement, PS producers
announced a planned price reduction of €30/tonne. Overall,
producers limited the price reduction to around €30/tonne.
Some producers attempted to increase the premium for
high-impact material (HIPS) following the rise in the cost of
butadiene (up €60/tonne), but overall, it remained at around

€90-100/tonne.
Expandable PS demand was much firmer than GPPS demand. While GPPS demand was better than it was during Q1,
it fell below expectations in May. The public holidays in European countries played a part and created delivery problems.
Furthermore, GPPS demand was weak as customers were still
drawing down inventories they had accumulated at the end
of last year and anticipated lower prices in June.

p
V
c

In May, PVC producers faced a proportionate rise of €10/
tonne in their cost base after the ethylene contract price
was fixed €20/tonne higher. Producers initially aimed for
margin improvement but faced a battle with buyers to even
pass on the higher feedstock cost. Overall, PVC base resin
prices edged €5/tonne higher last month. Flexible compound prices moved by slightly more due to an increase in
plasticiser prices.

The European PVC sector is better balanced than in recent months and the high prices are dampening demand.
The plant maintenance season is drawing to an end and material availability has improved.
In May, there were signs of a slowdown in PVC demand
after a good start to the year. Construction sector demand
was considered most likely to be affected by the number of
public holidays in May.

p
e
T

In April, the European PET market moved swiftly from being broadly balanced to short. This was mainly due to declaration of force majeure at a large PTA plant in Belgium
around Easter following maintenance work. In addition, a
PTA plant in Poland called force majeure later in the month.
Meanwhile, Asia imports remained rather scarce.
The supply shortage combined with higher demand as
a result of warmer weather, led to a price surge with no-

tations rising €40-50/tonne despite a steady cost base.
The upward price momentum continued into May despite a respite on the supply front. The Belgium PTA plant
was understood to be back online mid-May, but it would
be some time before the pipeline was fully replenished.
Meanwhile, buyers were intent on keeping their raw material stocks full, with the bottle-making season in full
swing.

36

june 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Plastics News Europe - June 2018

Contents
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - Cover1
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - Cover2
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - Contents
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 4
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 5
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 6
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 7
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 8
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 9
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 10
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 11
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 12
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 13
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 14
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 15
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 16
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 17
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 18
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 19
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 20
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 21
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 22
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 23
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 24
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 25
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 26
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 27
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 28
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 29
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 30
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 31
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 32
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 33
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 34
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 35
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 36
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 37
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 38
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 39
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 40
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 41
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - 42
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - Cover3
Plastics News Europe - June 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com