Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET)
The downward trend for R-PET prices accelerated even further during February because of low demand and the falling cost of bottle scrap. R-PET clear food-grade pellets and clear flake prices fell by €90-100/tonne while coloured flake prices fell by €65-70/tonne.
R-PET demand remained hampered by the beverage bottle-making industry being in low season and also by the much lower prices for virgin PET. Virgin PET prices have tumbled over €150/tonne since the turn of the year. The gap between R-PET clear food-grade pellets, R-PET clear flake prices and virgin PET prices remains very wide at €750/tonne and €340/tonne, respectively.
R-PET recyclers kept production at a low level because of the weak sales but output was more than enough to meet demand. There was no shortage of bottle scrap reported.
In March, a further softening in R-PET prices is likely as demand is expected to remain weak while supply is expected to lengthen.
Recycled low-density polyethylene (R-LDPE)
In February, R-LDPE prices fell between €30-40/tonne because of continued weak demand and improving supply. Production rates have been stepped up but still remained below normal levels. Demand remained flat despite some restocking.
In March, demand is picking up a little but was unable to prevent further price erosion despite supply remaining at a low level.
Recycled high-density polyethylene (R-HDPE)
In February, R-HDPE prices fell by €30/tonne due to continued demand weakness and improving supply. Processors were ordering only limited volumes due to low order intake from their customers. Material availability improved because of some recycling plants coming back on stream after maintenance turnarounds.
R-HDPE prices are sliding again in March but the downward trend appears to be losing momentum. Processors’ order books are beginning to improve and there is also stock replenishment taking place.
Recycled polypropylene (R-PP)
In February, R-PP supply continued to improve while demand remained well below normal levels. As a result, R-PP price reductions accelerated compared to the previous month, falling by a further €50/tonne. Imports of low-cost virgin material from Asia also contributed to the downward pressure on R-PP offers.
In March, R-PP prices are declining further but at a reducing rate. Demand is recovering but still remains below a normal level. Material availability is more than sufficient to meet the low demand.
Recycled high-impact polystyrene (R-HIPS)
In February, R-HIPS prices edged almost €10/tonne lower in a fairly well-balanced market. R-HIPS demand benefited from some stock replenishment but overall sales were lower than normal. Production remained at a low level but there was still sufficient material to satisfy the low level of demand.
R-HIPS prices showed little change during the first two weeks of March. Processors’ order books were very low and hence were holding back on placing new orders. R-HIPS availability was also low as producers maintained reduced operating rates.