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  Past Reports
Weekly Market Update
ThePlasticsExchange.com
Market Update
February 17, 2017

Summary

Spot resin trading activity was a bit disappointing this past week; the market has cooled as buyers began to push back on the continual price advancement. Some offers have been sticking around a little longer than recent weeks and spot availability has become more liquid. As such, after about 10 weeks of steadily rising levels, transactional values only held steady and volumes were - meh.

By no means is the market over supplied in any Polyethylene or Polypropylene grade and many materials are still scarce, we are just seeing signs of sentiment softening from still bullish towards neutral. It is very possible to see the upside enthusiasm rejuvenate, as overall availability is still categorized as tight and downstream inventories appear inadequate, but at the moment, the market is feeling a tad tired.

Energy prices were all softer and April has rolled to the front month. April WTI Crude Oil futures traded in a paltry 3% range and closed the week at $53.78/bbl, down $.55/bbl. April Brent Crude lost $.89/bbl to settle Friday at $55.81/bbl. Natural Gas prices continued to unwind, they loped off another $.166/mmBtu and headed into the weekend at $2.951/mmBtu, the lowest level since mid-Nov.

Spot Ethane lost almost a penny, ending the week just above $.25/gal ($.105/lb); prompt Propane fell further, dropping at least another nickel, to near $.75/gal ($.212/lb). March Propane last traded closer to $.70/gal. Ethylene was very weak, eroding about $.05/lb and back down to $.31/lb. Spot PGP was quiet again and prices hung on the higher side of the mid $.40s/lb. Feb PGP contracts have yet to settle, but an increase of $.06 -.08/lb has been discussed.

The spot Polyethylene market slowed; processor demand was lacking and truckloads were the predominant order size. PE pricing was steady across the board, as prices already reflect most of the current nickel increase. Several resellers that got ahead of the market relaxed their asking prices seeking orders. There have been very few prime railcars available in the secondary market, and those that have been seen offered no apparent discount to general contract levels.

Polyethylene producers remain firm in their intent to fully implement their $.05/lb price increase for Feb contracts, which seems likely to take hold. Rising US PE prices have challenged the high volume incremental export market, which had been a tremendous outlet for material. It will likely take another good surge in domestic demand or perhaps a supply disruption to press the market much higher and put the March $.06/lb increase realistically into play.

The Polypropylene market has stalled in its ascent; the spot rally was fast and fierce, totaling about $.15/lb in about 10 weeks. Even though PP supply/demand dynamics had turned bullish by mid-Dec, the increase in PP prices has been cost-push in nature – PGP jumped as much as $.19/lb. PGP & PP contracts rose a dime in Jan, more than recouping the $.04/lb Dec decline, and while Feb has yet to settle, we expect $.06 -.08/lb more to take hold.

The Propylene monomer market has essentially been flat since mid-Jan, holding on to its lofty level, while the increased costs work their way downstream into resin. The sharp rise in feedstock costs appear to be keeping reactor rates in check, so PP supplies remain tight. Looking ahead into March, it seems that even if PGP costs begin to come off, current resin prices could be maintained. This can work well as processors also need time to digest PP prices back up in the $.50s/lb and into the $.60s/lb, providing the opportunity to pass it along to their own customers.

Total Offers 13,385,928 lbs Spot Contract
ResinTotal lbsLowHighBidOffer
HDPE - Blow Mold2,517,968$.530$.590$.530$.570
PP Homo1,990,012$.540$.640$.550$.590
HMWPE - Film1,807,772$.550$.590$.530$.570
LLDPE - Film1,773,128$.540$.600$.540$.580
PP Copo1,580,368$.550$.680$.570$.610
LDPE - Film1,238,656$.620$.690$.640$.680
LLDPE - Inj963,552$.590$.640$.580$.620
HDPE - Inj807,288$.540$.590$.530$.570
LDPE - Inj707,184$.580$.640$.590$.630
 
 
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