Market overview: Demand was good, supplies were tight, and prices rose sharply in spot resin trading during the first week of April. Spot-trading platform The Plastics Exchange (TPE) reported that energy and feedstock costs continue to climb higher, helping reinforce producer efforts to fully implement the price increases nominated for April contracts. These include $0.06/lb for polyethylene (PE) and somewhere between $0.10 -$0.16/lb for polypropylene (PP), depending on where April polymer-grade propylene (PGP) contracts settle. TPE CEO Michael Greenberg said that while processors will complain that these increases will be difficult to pass through, cost-push pressures and relatively low inventories along the supply chain lend support to the increases.
Energy markets: U.S. energy prices moved sharply in opposite directions, as May crude oil futures continued to rise, adding $4.85/bbl to end the week at $112.79/bbl, their highest close in two-and-a-half years. At the same time, May natural gas futures shed more than 7%, dropping $0.321/mmBtu to settle at $4.041/mmBtu on Friday. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio shot out to 27.9:1, the widest level on record. North American ethylene and integrated PE producers are enjoying significantly lower costs compared to most other international PE producers, aiding their direct PE export sales, which has also helped to keep the domestic resin market tight....