Most commodity grade resin prices were a penny lower last week, although polyethylene (PE) film grades managed to hang steady. Spot resin trading platform, The Plastics Exchange, reported that activity was better, and although many buyer inquiries were simply testing the market for price, TPE noted that a larger percentage of transactions were completed than in the previous week. Renewed efforts to implement any of a proposed $0.07/lb PE increase in May have already been abandoned, with flat contracts or even a lower settlement now likely. Although polymer grade propylene (PGP) and polypropylene (PP) contract prices were initially nominated to rollover from April, weak feedstock markets now point to a steep drop in May contract pricing.
Energy markets moved in opposite directions, as June crude oil futures plunged right through the $100/level, tumbling $6.44/bbl to end the week at $98.49/bbl. June natural gas prices continued to recover posting their third straight weekly gain, adding another $0.093/mmBtu to settle at $2.279/mmBtu on Friday. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio contracted further, pulling back to 43:1, which is the tightest since the beginning of March, but still very wide on a historic basis....