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European PP buyers skeptical about cost-driven hikes

  • 07/12/2017 (02:44)
In Europe, December PP offers started to be revealed after monthly propylene contracts settled €32/ton higher. European producers are naturally aiming for hikes matching or exceeding the monthly propylene upsurge. However, the question has arisen whether or not the entire amount of hike requests will materialize in deals given approaching holidays and comfortable supplies.

Although the majority of the players concur that demand is weak and it might remain unchanged ahead of the imminent leave of the market players for holidays, sellers consider that large converters might source material in the first half of December to achieve their year-end discounts. Plus, they are drawing attention to the transportation disruptions due to the lack of trucks in the region as it might spoil balanced supply-demand dynamics.

A West European producer revealed new offers with €30/ton increases in the contract market. A producer source added, “Our sales results for November were satisfactory. As for December, demand will depend on buyers’ needs to achieve their ‘annual volume bonus program’.”

Resellers were seen applying rollovers to smaller hikes of €10-20/ton while some distributors offering with larger hikes of €40/ton in line with the guidelines from their European suppliers also think that initial hike requests might be trimmed down by half during negotiations in the coming days as the market is well-supplied and demand is not that strong.

A distributor from Belgium said, “We are receiving only 30% of our regular orders as buyers were expecting stable PP prices this month. Therefore, they are not in a hurry to buy.”

A different distributor from the Netherlands reported that their West European supplier has officially announced €50/ton hikes in the contract market and €40/ton hikes in the spot market. He commented, “We don’t expect these hike requests to be found workable this month. We aim to achieve only small hikes of €10-20/ton at the end of the negotiations.”

“It will be difficult to achieve deals with hikes matching the propylene upsurge and we might revise our hike requests down to €20/ton if we cannot boost our sales next week,” admitted another seller.

On the buyers’ side, meanwhile, some converters expect to close deals with rollovers, resisting to pay any hikes. They are pointing to the limited working days, comfortable stocks and poor year-end demand. They are also engaging in import business given the bullish market talks for the first quarter of 2018.
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