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India’s June import PE, PP prices stable to higher amid monsoon

by Shibu Itty Kuttickal -
  • 05/06/2024 (01:59)
Amid monsoon rains that hit the southern tip of the Indian peninsula and the country’s northeast region slightly earlier than the typical onset in the beginning of June, import pricing levels to India were stable to higher from a month earlier.

Normally, the monsoon season sees demand for polyolefins from the construction and agricultural sector receding as construction work slows and agricultural offtakes also weaken as buyers wait for the rains to get over.

LDPE film prices break above $1200/t threshold

Import LDPE film prices to India of were noted to have crossed the $1200/ton threshold, with some offers heard even in the high-$1200s/ton CIF India levels, but trades were mostly noted in the low-$1200s/ton range. A month ago, trading indications were mostly above the mid-$1100s/ton.

“The supply situation in the LDPE film market has tightened as shipments from the Middle East have dried up as a result of the ongoing second-quarter turnarounds in the region,” a trader in India said.

Some sources said the surge in LDPE prices has resulted in the grade being sold in combination with LLDPE and HDPE film grades, with better overall prices for the other two grades.

LLDPE dealt mostly in the high-$900s/t

In India’s import LLDPE markets too, price indications were noted higher compared to a month ago, with suppliers to the country firming up their offers, although pricing levels of locally produced material were lower than the imported ones. Prices were mostly in a $975-995/ton CIF India range currently for LLDPE film, compared to levels slightly higher than the mid-$900s/ton a month ago.

According to a trader, sellers from the Middle East and elsewhere could keep their prices at higher levels than was acceptable to Indian buyers as there were other South Asian markets that they could sell to. “At the same time, PE supplies, including that of LLDPE film, have tightened considerably because of the turnarounds in the Middle East,” he added.

Prices of shipments ahead, especially from the Middle East, are likely to be higher, because of the turnarounds there. “But these are unlikely to find acceptance among buyers here especially during the monsoon. We can also source lower-priced material from the local market,” the trader said.

‘Enough’ HDPE film supplies from domestic producers

Import HDPE film prices to the country were noted stable, although demand was weaker, with local producers offering reduced prices to entice buyers and increase sales.

“Offers were few and far between though even as prices reported were mostly stable. However, buyers were still resistant to the current offers as availability was ample from local producers. Demand stays sluggish,” a trader said.

The current offers of HDPE film were noted in a $1000-1030/ton CIF India range, with deals likely to be sealed at $1000-1020/ton CIF levels. Although the prices were stable, sentiment was noted weaker than in the previous month, which saw tighter HDPE film supplies, that spurred more buying activity.

PP raffia levels stay stable from May

Higher container freight rates coupled with sluggish demand have meant PP import levels in June to India have stayed stable from May. Traders quoted PP raffia offers mostly in the high-$900s/ton to the low-$1000s/ton, around the same levels that were noted in early May.

A trader said PP demand in the Middle East was expected to be strong despite the Eid Al-Adha festivities next week, mostly as a result of the influx of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. “This, coupled with the turnarounds in the Mid-East may crimp availability of import shipments to India,” he added.

Chinese offers have dried up in the Indian market as freight rates have surged because of a lack of container availability. “The container squeeze has not only meant lesser supplies from China but also firmer import prices to India,” the trader added.
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