Spot resin trading picked up as the month drew to a close, with offers fairly heavy in the first part of the week, but petering out ahead of the long holiday weekend. Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE), noted that resin prices were mostly steady to lower and have come off significantly from the historic highs seen earlier in May. Polyethylene's $0.05/lb price increase was never fully implemented and will be attempted again in June. May polypropylene (PP) contracts did rise $0.095/lb, along with polymer-grade propylene, but expectations are for June PP contracts to fall sharply.
Energy prices rose last week, as July crude oil futures added $0.59/bbl to end the week at $100.59/bbl. July natural gas futures jumped $0.228/mmBtu to finish at $4.518/mmBtu, and the crude oil : natural gas price ratio contracted further to 22.8:1.
Ethylene spot prices were slightly higher in limited trading, with ethylene for May delivery most recently transacted at $0.69/lb, up a penny from the week before. Material for June delivery traded several times around $0.655/lb. There were crackers that returned back on-stream, as well as a couple that just went down last week, with the net effect being a small reduction in available cracking capacity. With about 8% of total production offline, there is a premium for near-term delivery that eases throughout the summer, eventually priced to the lower $0.60s/lb by August....