Spot resin trading activity remained a bit slow, with a below average volume of transactions completed last week as resin prices moved lower. Spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange, reported that this was the case in spite of good material availability, making demand disappointing and putting resin prices under pressure. Some processors, sensing pricing weakness, have limited purchases to an as-needed basis. Polypropylene (PP) producers secured a $0.095/lb cost-push price increase, equal to the change in May PGP contracts, while polyethylene (PE) producers are having some difficulty in implementing their current $0.05/lb increase.
Energy prices were relatively stable as July rolled to the front month futures contract. July crude oil futures shaved $0.02/bbl to settle at $100.10/bbl on Friday. July natural gas futures fell a modest $0.021/mmBtu to end the week at $4.290/mmBtu. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio was about steady at 23.3:1.
Ethylene spot prices eased some in fairly active trading. Ethylene for May delivery slipped $0.025/lb in a series of transactions with the most recent at $0.68/lb, which is a $0.04/lb premium to ethylene delivered in June. While several crackers remain shut for planned maintenance, operating rates have improved to just about 6% of total capacity now offline. Still, considering all the crackers shuttered in 2009, ethylene supplies are snug and have been so even when operating rates have been near capacity. Ethylene's net-transaction price (NTP) in April was $0.5725/lb, up $0.035/lb from March. The May NTP has yet to be declared....