TPE resin prices, August 12-16: PE up $0.005-.015/lb; PP up $0.01/lb; some PP nearing 2013 highs

The spot resin markets were busy, domestic demand improved and prices moved higher. Spot supplies remained limited and new production issues have arisen, fueling the increases according to spot-trading platform, The Plastics Exchange (TPE). Railcar offers have moved quickly and traders' warehoused inventories are being depleted. Polypropylene contracts are settling up at least $0.05/lb along with polymer grade propylene (PGP) monomer and some producers are seeking a margin expansion as well. "Polyethylene producers seem to be pushing off their split August price increase in favor of a fresh nickel increase in September," TPE CEO Michael Greenberg reported, adding that initiatives do vary by producer. Export markets are "challenging," even with normally steady player Latin American where demand is wavering.

Energy markets rallied last week, as September crude oil futures continued their bull run posting new contract highs on Friday. The market nearly reached $108/bbl, before settling slightly to close the week at $107.29, a $1.32/bbl gain. After several months of drops, September natural gas futures finally had an up week, recovering $0.138/mmBtu to finish Friday at $3.368/mmBtu. Accordingly, the crude oil: natural gas ratio shrunk a little to 32:1. Spot ethane added about a quarter-cent to $0.2425/gal ($0.102/lb)....

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