In August, the higher naphtha cost and the risks for supply in Central Europe due to the flood disaster led to an increase of €53/tonne in the ethylene contract price. Nevertheless, L/LDPE prices continued to slide despite lower feedstock costs. A small price decline at the start of August became much stronger as the month progressed. Overall, LDPE film grades prices fell €70-80/tonne with LLDPE prices down by €100/tonne.
While supply from local sources remained quite low, higher imports improved material availability. Most converters were able to secure the volumes they needed with some gaining additional quantities. Demand was strong across most end-use sectors despite the summer holidays in southern Europe.
Following an €8/tonne reduction in the ethylene contract price, LDPE prices had fallen €10/tonne by mid-September with LLDPE down by €30/tonne on improved availability.
In August, the higher naphtha cost and the risks for supply in Central Europe due to the flood disaster led to an increase of €53/tonne in the ethylene contract price. While price development varied considerably, the overall picture was for a further price slide, despite lower feedstock costs. Blow moulding material fell around €50/tonne with blown film and injection moulding down by €40/tonne.
While supply from local sources remained quite low, higher import volumes improved material availability. Most converters were able to secure the volumes they needed with some gaining additional quantities. The summer break curtailed polymer demand in southern Europe but otherwise sales were generally quite good, with particularly solid demand from the automotive and construction industries.
In September, blow moulding and blown film prices were unchanged with injection moulding down €20/tonne by mid-month.
In August, PP prices continued the downswing, despite a €58/tonne rise in the propylene contract price. Market participants saw this curious price development as a result of the very high price levels and the adverse impact on demand of the summer holiday season. PP homopolymer injection prices fell around €30/tonne with homopolymer film and copolymer injection grades down by €15/tonne compared to the previous month.
Material availability improved slightly aided by higher import volumes and the restart of a key production line in the Netherlands. Demand was better than would normally be expected for August. Surplus supplies due to lower demand in southern Europe as a result of August holidays were diverted to buyers in central and northern Europe.
In September, homopolymer and copolymer injection prices had fallen €10/tonne with homopolymer film unchanged by mid-month.
PVC prices increased for the fourteenth month in a row in August driven by continued material shortages. Prices were up by more than the proportionate ethylene cost increase with base PVC resin prices climbing €35/tonne. Rigid PVC compound prices increased by €45/tonne driven by higher white titanium dioxide pigment costs. Flexible PVC compound prices were up by only €20/tonne with no significant change in plasticiser costs.
The holiday season in southern Europe released some surplus material for consumption in central and northern Europe but overall supply was very tight. The construction sector was once again the main demands driver.
In September, continued material tightness and good demand led to a further increase in PVC prices. More force majeure notifications and plant maintenance programmes kept supply low. By mid-month, base PVC resin prices had increased €35/tonne.
PS prices turned upward again in August following two months of falling prices. The styrene monomer reference price increased €36/tonne in August due largely to a sharp rise in the cost of benzene. PS prices rises initially tracked the SM cost rise but the pace of price increases dropped as the month progressed mainly as a result of softer demand. At the end of the month general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS) prices were €20/tonne higher compared to July closing levels.
GPPS supply has improved significantly during the summer and is virtually back to normal. Demand was low mainly as a result of the holiday season in southern Europe.
By mid-September, GPPS prices had fallen in line with the sharp €81/tonne downturn in the cost of styrene monomer with high-impact grades down slightly less due to rising butadiene prices.
PET prices turned upward in August driven by rising feedstock costs and a lack of imported material. The paraxylene contract price, which usually settles late in the month, was agreed €55/tonne higher at end July. PET producers were able to at least factor in the proportionate increase in costs, of around €40/tonne.
The predominantly dull summer weather and the ongoing pandemic restrictions across many European countries continued to restrain demand for PET beverage bottle production. PET production was being trimmed in line with the disappointing demand while Asian imports were rarely seen due to the Inflated freight costs coupled with severe container shortages.
PET prices continued to rise in September and by mid-month were €20-30/tonne higher compared to August. Diminishing availability across the region and a lack of imports amid shipment issues were the key price drivers