Spot resin sales remained strong last week, despite some softness in prices, reports the Plastics Exchange (Chicago). Logistical issues backing up railcars in Houston, which prompted just-in-time demand, were among the drivers. Lower resin prices, particularly in the Asian region, are pressuring export markets, with competitive offers from other regions also complicating spot exports to Latin America. While the Houston gulf has avoided problematic hurricanes the past several years, the wicked weather system that ran through Houston early in the week was a reminder of the area's vulnerability.
The spot ethylene market saw moderate activity with prices trending higher. Ethylene for June delivery continued to trade within a tight range, closing out the week at $0.36125/lb, up just more than a half cent. Ethylene's forward curve remains fairly flat, with prices through the end of 2016 still very close to prompt levels.
The polyethylene (PE) markets remained active, although spot prices were mildly weaker, according to the Plastics Exchange. June PE contracts will settle flat, with a 5 cent increase still nominated for July. The spot market lost a half cent this week, and sits a penny and half off the month's opening level. May upstream inventory additions nearly replaced April's draw, so the market is again a bit heavy, though it is still early with plenty of time for new developments.