In April, recycled standard thermoplastic prices continued to drift lower, although at a slower rate than in the previous month. Low incoming orders remains the major drag on prices along with competition from the falling cost of virgin materials.
R-PET prices saw the steepest price reduction in April with clear flake prices down by €100/tonne over March levels; food-grade pellets and coloured flake prices fell €50/tonne. R-LDPE prices fell by €10-20/tonne while R-HDPE prices were either unchanged or increased by up to €10/tonne. R-PP prices were also unchanged; R-HIPS prices softened by around €20/tonne.
Standard recyclate prices continued to drift downward in May as a result of ongoing weak demand and competition from off-spec virgin material and imports. Price movements did however vary quite considerably. R-PET clear flake prices once again saw a triple-digit drop; other R-PET grades also registered large price declines. Most other categories saw price reductions of between €10-40/tonne. R-LDPE extrusion black prices were unchanged.
Low demand continues to characterise the market for recycled plastics with order activity well below what would normally be expected for the time of year. Demand weakness can be easily explained by the slowdown in European economies and weakness in key end use markets for recyclate such as construction and packaging. Recyclate is also facing growing competition from the falling cost of off-spec virgin material and competition from cheaper imported material from the Far East.
Recyclers have continued to curb output to avoid a build-up of excess stocks; yet there has been no major shortage of material reported.
In June, standard recyclate prices are likely to fall further but at a slower rate. There is some hope that the early signs of a revival in demand may become more widespread by next month.