In August, European standard thermoplastic prices tracked cost development in generally very calm markets. Buying activity was sluggish, particularly in Southern Europe, where most of the plastics processing industry was closed for the holiday season.
At the start of the month, some polymer producers announced planned price increases ahead of monomer cost development to bolster margins. However, buyers strongly resisted these plans. Polyolefins and PVC notations were mostly settled on a rollover basis compared to the previous month. Styrenics, on the other hand, moved upward in line with higher feedstock costs.
The August ethylene contract price surprisingly settled €10/tonne higher when most market participants expected a rollover from July. Polyethylene contract prices mostly settled unchanged compared to the previous month. Producers’ plans to raise notations were mostly undermined by low demand, special offers and good material availability.
PVC prices, which are also largely influenced by the cost of ethylene, were also mostly rolled over due to lacklustre demand.
The August propylene contract price was fixed with a rollover after the sharp fall of €80/tonne in July. Polypropylene contract prices followed suit in quiet markets.
The August styrene monomer (SM) reference price settled €33/tonne higher compared to the previous month reflecting cost increases for benzene and ethylene. Most polystyrene sellers announced plans to raise prices by more than the SM reference price, but buyers were not prepared to comply. Contract negotiations for general-purpose polystyrene and high-impact polystyrene mostly settled €30-35/tonne higher.
The August feedstock reference prices for paraxylene had not settled at time of writing but monoethylene glycol prices fell slightly. With market sentiment predicting fairly stable costs, the majority of PET contracts settled either slightly lower or showing a weak rollover compared to the previous month