The September ethylene contract price settled €30/tonne higher at €995/tonne as a result of planned steam cracker plant outages plus the effects of the recent hurricane catastrophe on the US Gulf Coast. In response, L/LDPE producers aimed to at least recover the cost increase as well as broaden their profit margins. By mid-month, L/LDPE prices were up by around €50-55/tonne compared with the previous month.
Supply remains tight and stocks are low. Several polymer plants are down for planned and unplanned maintenance work. There is also a lack of imported LLDPE material into Europe. Furthermore, the closure of the Rhine Valley railway line in the south of Germany and the resultant shortage of road transport capacities resulted in widespread logistic bottlenecks and delivery delays.
Demand picked up as the holiday season came to an end.
In September, the ethylene contract price settled €30/tonne higher at €995/tonne as a result of planned steam cracker plant outages plus the effects of the recent hurricane catastrophe on the US Gulf Coast.
In response, HDPE producers aimed to at least recover the cost increase as well as broaden their profit margins. However, by mid-month, HDPE blown film and blow moulding prices had risen by €30/tonne, which was line with the cost increase, while injection moulding grades were up by around €35/tonne compared with the previous month.
The HDPE sector is in a better balance than L/LDPE with fewer plant outages and adequate stocks for most grades. In addition, there is a steady supply of imports from the Middle East.
Demand was good across most end-use sectors as converters returned to work after the holidays.
In September, the propylene contract price settled €40/tonne higher at €830/tonne due to rising naphtha costs, announced maintenance turnarounds at refineries and the effects of the recent hurricane catastrophe on the US Gulf Coast.
PP producers aimed to at least recover the €40/tonne cost increase plus an additional amount for margin improvement. By mid-month, however, PP prices were up by around €40-60/tonne compared with the previous month.
For homopolymers, material availability was adequate and prices increased in line with the higher monomer cost. Copolymers, on the other hand, faced tighter supply and prices increased by €60/tonne. Supply tightened as major producers redirected material across the Atlantic due to shortages caused by Hurricane Harvey.
As demand improves during September after the holidays and supply tightens, further price increases could be on the cards during the month.