Market overview: The spot resin markets continued to experience heightened trading activity in the face of steep price increase nominations. Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) noted that material offerings were heavy last week, with overall spot prices mixed. Numerous processors entered into the market, but generally sought low volumes of material, as they wait and see how contract prices ultimately settle. Producers are seeking to raise January resin contracts by as much $0.11/lb for polyethylene and $0.19/lb for polypropylene. The export markets are currently relatively quiet.
Energy markets: The key U.S. energy markets moved higher last week, with February crude oil futures recouping the previous week's losses and gaining $3.51/bbl to settle at $91.54/bbl on Friday. February natural gas futures rallied $0.058/mmBtu to end the week at $4.48/mmBtu. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio expanded slightly back out to almost 20.5:1, which is more than three time the ratio considered parity.