PIE - Polymer Price Reports

Standard Thermoplastics September 2016

PE starts to crumble but most notations still hold stable/ Higher costs drive up PP/ PVC stagnant / PS follows SM down / Polyolefins rising/ All other grades under pressure

PE: Producers' plans to hike prices in September failed, as their premature calls were quickly undermined by the rollover in the C2 reference price. Apart from that, the fact that some buyers already began topping up their stocks in July meant most of them still had sufficient material in inventory. In the final tally, most transactions ended up in a rollover, with the occasional slight reduction. In October, most producers are planning to pass on at least the nominal EUR 15/t rise in the ethylene contract. However, considering the long market situation, it is highly questionable whether they will succeed.

PP: It initially looked as though September would be a tough month for European PP buyers, but the widely feared bottlenecks increasingly turned out to be more of an individual nature rather than an across-the-board phenomenon. The month concluded with rises that tended to fall short of the actual cost increase. The only exception was copolymer injection moulding grades, where the full cost rise was passed on. Compounds notations quickly reflected the price movements among the standard products. Due to higher additives prices, moderate increases dominated the picture here. Following the EUR 35/t rise in October´s C3 contract, producers' stance will likely toughen. Buyers should brace themselves for price increases, although the hikes will likely be just slightly higher than the actual cost rise.

PVC: S-PVC base material producers' efforts to hike prices were doomed from the get-go. Contrary to their expectations, demand remained rather weak. Having stocked up in the preceding months, a large number of processors were able to meet demand from the construction segment from their existing inventories. It was much the same where E-PVC was concerned. In some instances, notations for ready-to-use blends reflected the rise in additive costs. Rigid PVC blends prices, for instance, were driven up by the increases for titanium dioxide and modifiers. Plasticisers also pointed up, although the gains were not strong enough to elicit any movement on the soft blends front so far. That could change in October, following the rise in C3 and the upward trend for TiO2.

Styrenics: Styrenics prices were caught in a weak rollover. Following the EUR 20/t decline in the monthly SM contract, both PS and EPS suppliers brought some of their price peaks back to par, while lower-lying notations were mostly left untouched. ABS also rolled over. As expected, demand picked up once the holidays ended, but the boom in orders from the construction sector failed to materialise. In the wake of the EUR 50/t decline in October's SM contract, both PS and EPS notations will likely erode further. The downward potential for ABS, meanwhile, is dampened by the rise in butadiene costs (up EUR 40/t) as well as the widely expected increase for ACN.

PET: PET prices remained under pressure. Although demand picked up as temperatures reached unusual highs, the resultant rise in orders was unable to offset the generally oversupplied market. In the end, notations eroded along the entire PET chain - from feedstock to virgin polymer to recyclate. The current situation is unlikely to change much in October, with costs trending either stable or down, and demand expected to decline.

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