In September, polyolefin prices in Western Europe showed limited development, but polystyrene and PET registered sizeable price hikes.
The ethylene contract price settled on a rollover basis for the third month in a row while propylene registered a €10/tonne increase. The styrene monomer (SM) reference price settled €65/tonne higher due to continuing supply worries. The paraxylene contract price, the key precursor for PET production, was hiked by €220/tonne as a result of surging Asian prices and the impact of the hurricane on major PET production plants in southern US States.
LLDPE and HDPE prices moved sideways due to low import volumes and good local supply. LDPE prices fell slightly due to continued over-supply and disappointing demand. Polypropylene prices tracked the €10/tonne rise in propylene costs in a balanced market. Meanwhile, PVC prices slipped slightly once again despite stable feedstock costs.
Initially, polystyrene producers sought price increases of up to €75/tonne, but this proved unrealistic given strong buyer resistance. Most general-purpose PS contracts were being settled during September €55-60/tonne higher compared with the previous month.
The €220/tonne surge in paraxylene costs was not fully reflected in downstream PET prices due to buyer resistance with offers increasing €60-70/tonne. Market fundamentals remained on the tight side while demand started to subside.