European polyolefin prices have barely changed since end September with very limited feedstock cost development and subdued demand. PVC and PS, on the other hand, have posted significant price hikes due to supply shortages.
PVC producers have seen sharp price and profit margin gains over the last two months. PVC base resin contract prices have increased €65/tonne in both October and November, compared to a €10/tonne decline in ethylene feedstock costs. PVC supply is constrained by several unplanned plant outages and demand has remained very lively.
PS producers have also managed price and margin uplift due to supply restrictions and good demand.
PET prices staged a modest upturn in October and stabilised during November despite lower raw material costs.
European polymer availability was constrained by a combination of unplanned and planned plant shutdowns over the last two months.
Unplanned plant shutdowns included:
- LyondellBasell declared force majeure on its random copolymer PP supply from Brindisi, Italy due to technical issues 12 October
- SABIC declared force majeure for LDPE deliveries from its UK plant in Wilton due to ‘unexpected technical issues’ 3 November
- Total has extended its force majeure for polypropylene from European production for an indeterminate period. Technical problems at the group’s PP plant in Gonfreville, France, along with a power outage at its Lavera, France facility triggered the force majeure
- Inovyn declared force majeure 1 September on PVC deliveries from its three northern plants following a power outage at the company's Rafnes VCM plant in Norway. Inovyn's Rheinberg production plant was also still undergoing maintenance work into October
- Borealis announced force majeure on its feedstocks and cracker supplies from its 400,000tonnes/year of ethylene, Porvoo, Finland cracker during first week in November
- Borealis declared force majeure on 11 November for products from the cracker in Porvoo, Finland following an external technical defect. The outage is also affecting production of downstream polymerisation stages
- Ineos declared force majeure on its LDPE supplies from one of its plants in Cologne, Germany due to a power outage on 11 November.
In addition, France’s KemOne put its PVC customers on allocation for October on the back of greater interest in October cargoes amid a dearth of global PVC supplies. Furthermore, Vinnolit announced the closure of its 50,000 tonnes/year PVC plant in Schkopau, Germany due to the lack of profitability and long-term competitiveness.
Meanwhile, several plants, including LyondellBasell (LDPE plant at Aubette, France), Versalis (PS plant in Mantova, Italy) and Vynova (PVC plant in Beek, the Netherlands) restarted operations to improve the supply position.