Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) prices eased a penny last week, giving back a portion of their recent gains. Trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) noted that resin availability remains limited, adding that prices seem to have "gotten a bit ahead of themselves" in recent weeks, with the market needing a chance to "breathe." Hurricane Isaac did not cause any major damage to Gulf petrochemical plants, but some facilities were shut down or run at reduced rates as a precaution, further compromising already tight supplies. August PE contracts were up to $0.03 - $0.05/lb, September will likely see them all balance, rising $0.05/lb. PP contracts shed $0.015/lb in August and will see a $0.025-$0.04/lb rebound in September.
Energy markets moved lower last week, with gas dropping more than oil. October crude oil futures slid just $0.05/bbl in another week of reduced volatility, and the market settled Friday at $96.42/bbl. October natural gas closed at $2.682/mmBtu, for a loss of $0.117/mmBtu, dropping to the lowest weekly settlement since June. The crude oil : natural gas ratio moved out to 36:1; pushing it back to six times the 6:1 level considered parity. ...