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European PE market shrugs off lower costs

  • 01/03/2016 (02:37)
March PE prices are emerging across Europe following the monomer settlements. After an initial ethylene contract was concluded with a €30/ton drop from February, a second ethylene contract settled with a slightly smaller decrease of €20/ton. According to players, the second contract with a €20/ton drop was followed widely in the region rather than the initial settlement.

The PE market is seen shrugging off lower feedstock costs owing to support from dwindling availability. LyondellBasell shut their 320,000 tons/year LDPE plant at Aubette, France for a turnaround in the last week of February as scheduled. Unipetrol was also expected to shut their HDPE unit at Litvinov, Czech Republic by mid-March. Each unit is expected to remain offline for approximately 40 days.

Even though buyers are expressing lower buy ideas in line with ethylene contracts, initial PE prices are mainly stable and increases are also considered to be possible for the following days depending on supply and demand dynamics.

A South European producer started giving offers for their March PE contracts with rollovers after closing their February business with decreases of €75-80/ton. A producer source reported that their supply is quite short, especially for LDPE and HDPE.

A distributor based in the Netherlands also rolled over their initial March PE prices from February in line with his West European supplier’s guidelines. The seller stated that his stocks are lower for LDPE, but sufficient for HDPE.

A similar trend is observed in Italy. A distributor rolled over his March PE prices from last month, pointing to his tight supply despite slightly lower ethylene contracts. A converter received stable initial offers for March PE contracts, but said that he is hoping to obtain discounts of €20/ton in line with the ethylene settlements.
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