TPE North American resin prices, Dec. 13-17: PE steady; PP up; $0.12/lb increase on tap for PP in January


Market overview: Spot resin-trading activity was good last week, with mixed prices and an increase in short-term supplies. Polyethylene (PE) prices were mostly steady, according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE), although its benchmark high-density (HDPE) blowmolding grade was down $0.005/lb. PP prices continued to rally, adding another $0.01/lb, as they built on the previous weeks' gains. In December, PP contracts increased $0.03/lb, rising in tandem with polymer grade propylene (PGP), and they are poised to move higher yet in January. The December $0.05/lb PE price increase remains in negotiation, but TPE CEO Michael Greenberg notes that weak monomer prices make a timely implementation "questionable", but Greenberg also said that no producers have yet conceded to a delay.

Energy markets: Oil and gas continue to move in opposite directions as February becomes the front month. February crude oil futures edged $0.29/bbl higher to end the week at $88.60/bbl. February natural gas fell sharply, dropping $0.325/mmBtu to settle at $4.103/mmBtu on Friday. The crude oil : natural gas price ratio moved back out to the very wide level of 21.6:1.
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