Market overview: Spot resin trading improved after a slow start to March as buyers and sellers began to come together on price. Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE) said that polyethylene (PE) railcar offers receded from the initial $0.08/lb increase seen last week. That proposed increase prompted buyers to withhold orders awaiting better prices. After finally pushing through a $0.03/lb increase in February, PE producers are seeking to add another $0.02/lb in March, reserving the $0.06/lb also nominated, pending potential major market disruptions. March PP contracts look to decline $0.05/lb, which is commensurate with the drop in March polymer-grade propylene (PGP). Spot PP transactions are developing in the high $0.70s/lb to low $0.80s/lb depending on grade and quantity.
Energy markets again moved in opposite directions, with April crude oil futures easing from 29-month highs and falling $3.26/bbl to finish at $101.16/bbl. The market briefly fell below the $100/bbl level amid fears of economic weakness in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. April natural gas futures recovered some, bouncing $0.08/mmBtu to settle at $3.889/mmBtu on Friday. The crude oil: natural gas price ratio contracted slightly 26.1:1, which is still more than four times the 6:1 ratio considered parity....