The Plastics Exchange reports that resin markets were a little more active with spot deals done across the spectrum of commodity polyethylene and polypropylene grades. However, there was no price movement this past week and spot prices remain steady to a little higher during this month. It is appearing more likely that producers will secure their entire $.04/lb polyethylene price increase in February. In addition, there is a lone $.06/lb increase nominated for March, while at least three other producers issued letters targeting the same amount for April. Polypropylene contracts shaved $.01/lb in Feb and might see another modest decrease in March, but there is still plenty of time and things could change. The export market is sluggish as international traders source better priced material from other regions.
The U.S. energy markets moved higher again and April rolled to the front month. April crude oil futures spent the entire holiday-shortened week in higher territory; the market settled at $102.20/bbl on Friday, it was a $2.07/bbl gain. Natural gas maintained its high level of volatility, transacting in more than a $1/MMbtu range. March natural gas futures, which are still very active, soared a whopping $.921/mmBtu to end the week at $6.135/mmBtu, the highest level since the summer of 2010. The April futures contract, which settled at $5.012/mmBtu on Friday, lags March by more than $1/MMBtu. The April/April Crude Oil: Natural Gas ratio expanded to 20.4:1. When considering the March Nat Gas price, the ratio is at just 16.6:1.