An abundance of offers and swelling material availability was greeted by waning market sentiment, resulting in what spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange, called a very difficult week. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) were nominated to increase in April, but contracts for both will remain steady. After a run-up in prices during the first quarter, distributors and traders, looking to get ahead of a seemingly imminent drop in prices, have become aggressive with their offers as they try to liquidate their uncommitted inventories, TPE CEO Michael Greenberg noted.
Energy markets moved in opposite directions, further widening the spread between crude oil and natural gas. May crude oil futures rallied $1.24/bbl to end the week at $104.06/bbl, while May natural gas prices continued to erode, shedding another $0.055/mmBtu to settle at $1.926/mmBtu on Friday. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio pushed out to a new record of 54:1, proving, Greenberg noted dryly, "that which is extremely wide can indeed still get wider."...