Polyethylene (PE) was mostly steady to lower last week, while polypropylene (PP) continued to unwind more of the huge gains that accumulated during the first 5 months of 2011, in a slower, holiday-shortened trading week.
Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE), noted that there were few fresh offers seen until the end of the week, when June began. Notwithstanding a last-ditch effort to secure at least a partial increase, for high-density polyethylene (HDPE), PE producers were unable to implement their $0.05/lb price increase in May. Consequently, PE prices are again offered up the same nickel for June. After enduring a $0.095/lb price hike in May, TPE noted that PP buyers were unimpressed with the initial $0.07/lb decrease nominated for June polymer-grade propylene (PGP) monomer which would follow through to PP contracts.
Energy prices were mixed last week, with crude oil basically unchanged, trading on either side of $100/bbl, as July futures shaved just $0.02/bbl to settle at $100.57/bbl on Friday. July natural gas futures continued to rally, adding $0.171/mmBtu to end the week at $4.689/mmBtu, marking their highest close since January. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio continued to compress and now sits at 21.4:1; its tightest level since February, but still three-and-a-half times the 6:1 ratio considered parity....