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European PE sellers in quest of margin improvement despite stable ethylene

  • 03/08/2017 (09:05)
In Europe, early August offers started to emerge in the PE market following the stable outcome of monthly ethylene contracts. Although earlier expectations were calling for rollovers or even decreases in August and an upturn in September, some sellers have started to seek margin improvement earlier in tandem with improving downstream demand, the lack of prompt monomer availability and higher naphtha costs.

A West European producer applied rollovers to small hikes, particularly on LDPE and LLDPE due to tighter supply amid some supply issues and delivery delays from Saudi Arabia.

A distributor in France is also offering HDPE and LLDPE at rollovers but applied €20/ton hikes on LDPE, which is pressured by tight supplies. A reseller also said, “The sentiment turned firmer. We have sold large quotas in July and we raised our LDPE prices as we hold low stocks now. However, we were able to close only a few deals as demand is calm in Italy.”

Buyers also affirmed supply concerns. “LLDPE is shorter as we faced difficulties in securing our needs albeit in limited amounts,” said a packaging maker who already accepted monthly hikes of €30-50/ton on LDPE deals this week.

Another packaging maker in the Netherlands remarked, “We have not received many offers so far this month, which made us think that sellers are not under sales pressure. We are ordering our regular monthly volumes although our production will be 60% less than normal as we want to have some safety stocks for September, when prices ought to increase.”

“Even though we secured some import cargoes from the Middle East to be delivered in September amid hike talks, we still plan to buy extra volumes from European suppliers,” said a PE buyer in Italy.

As for PP, hike requests are not as evident as in PE. A distributor commented, “The PP market is more balanced compared to PE due to better availability.”
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