The commodity resin markets continued their streak of hyperactivity; the flow of fresh railcars has been rapid and falling prices are encouraging processors to procure material, according to The Plastics Exchange in its look at the week of Dec. 8-12. PE contracts decreased $.03/lb in November and should see a decline of $.04-.05/lb this month; barring an unforeseen event, they will likely find further pressure in the first quarter. PP contracts dropped $.05/lb in November and commensurate with the dime decrease in PGP, will be as much as $.10/lb lower in December, tempered by any margin expansion that producers can garner. While Houston prices continue to slide, international levels are falling even faster to complicate export sales.
The major energy markets continued to collapse in historic fashion. Crude Oil essentially began the week at its high and ended on the low, wiping away another $8/bbl, a whopping 12.5%. The January futures contract settled Friday at $57.81/bbl, the lowest level in five years. January Brent Oil futures saw similar losses, erasing more than $7/bbl to end the week at $61.85/bbl. Natural Gas futures skidded as much as $.21/mmBtu, but rallied back as the week progressed, trimming the loss to less than a cent when the Jan contract closed Friday at $3.795/mmBtu. The Crude Oil : Natural Gas ratio contracted to just 15.3:1, the tightest in almost 5 years; along the way the spread had briefly widened to more than 50:1. After continually making multi-year lows, NGL prices stabilized somewhat this past week. Spot ethane was about steady at $.17/gal ($.071/lb). Spot propane yielded another couple cents $.55/gal ($.156/lb).