Another week of extreme volatility in the stock, energy, and commodity markets sent many resin buyers to the sidelines to await solid direction, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE). Spot polyethylene (PE) prices eased $0.01-$0.02/lb, giving back most of the premium previously built up in expectation of the proposed August price increase of $0.05/lb that producers continue to pursue. Spot polypropylene prices shed $0.01/lb as August polymer-grade propylene (PGP) contracts initially settled flat. If confirmed industry-wide, polypropylene contracts would also rollover in August.
Energy markets had a wild ride with mixed results, as crude oil prices dropped below $76/bbl before snapping back to settle at $85.38/bbl, which was still down $1.50/bbl for the week. After several weeks of steadily lower prices, September natural gas futures bounced $0.119/mmBtu to finish at $4.06/mmBtu. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio contracted further to 21:1.
Ethylene spot prices moved lower in high-volume trading, as several previously downed crackers were back online, relieving some short-term supply constraints. Material for August delivery traded down as much as $0.03/lb in a series of transactions throughout the week. The most recent of which was at $0.615/lb, for a weekly loss of $0.025/lb. Ethylene for September was also active, trading a penny below August pricing. July's net transaction price was steady at $0.5675/lb, and as yet, there is no indication for August NTP....