LDPE prices move below LLDPE, HDPE on global lethargy
But why has LDPE gone under LLDPE and HDPE?
Before moving ahead with details of where and how much LDPE prices have moved below other grades, let us try to answer this question.
- Growing length has been one of the main culprits behind the weaker performance of LDPE film. LDPE stocks accumulated as bulky volumes arriving from the US and Middle East could not be digested amid weaker-than-usual buying interest across regional markets. Therefore, the supply overhang has triggered a price war among sellers who aim to destock, with no end in sight to the bearishness. Sellers conceded to larger decreases for LDPE than the others.
- Weakness in demand was the other main reason behind larger decreases for LDPE. This is attributed to the lower consumption in the food and packaging sectors as well as unsatisfactory high season in the agricultural film sector.
- Lastly, little capacity addition has been keeping LDPE suppy limited across the board. This causes bigger price swings. That is to say, LDPE prices have been witnessing much considerable falls recently, going under LLDPE and HDPE in some markets, as a result of the bubble created earlier in the historical trend.
Europe: LDPE prices trade below others after 3 years in Italy
According to ChemOrbis Price Index, LDPE film prices on FD Italy/NWE basis hit their lowest level since December 2020-January 2021 as opposed to the other grades hovering at around only 3-month lows.
In Italy, LDPE prices have been trading below MDPE and HDPE grades for a while now. LDPE prices have been trading below MDPE prices since mid-March, putting LDPE’s discount to MDPE to €100/ton this week. By April, Italy’s LDPE market started to trade below HDPE film prices after around 3 years. LDPE’s discount to HDPE film reached €60/ton in the week ending May 19, according to ChemOrbis Price Index.
LDPE prices started to trade below HDPE b/m and inj. prices as of May, with weekly average prices standing €40/ton and €25/ton below these grades, respectively. LDPE prices moved below these grades after more than 3 years. Meanwhile, LDPE prices started to trade €20/ton below LLDPE C4 film prices this week. It is crucial to remind that LDPE’s discount to other grades may deepen.
Although LDPE prices in West Europe also started to trade below HDPE and MDPE film in April, they come at par or still carry a premium over other grades. LDPE prices currently stand €50/ton below HDPE film and €80/ton below MDPE.
In the freely-negotiated market, spot LDPE prices in Italy were more competitive than others. Low end offers stood at €1150/ton for LDPE, €1170/ton for LLDPE C4 film, €1240/ton for MDPE and €1180/ton for HDPE b/m, all on FD, 60 days basis. HDPE inj. prices were at par with LDPE in Italy.
Türkiye: LDPE goes below HDPE and LLDPE after almost 10 years
Middle Eastern LDPE prices were assessed at $1060-1090/ton for LDPE CIF Türkiye, subject to 6.5% duty, as initial attempts for prices at or above the $1100/ton threshold failed. LLDPE C4 film was assessed at $1080-1100/ton while HDPE film stood at $1070-1090/ton at the time of writing. The last time LDPE went below LLDPE was back in 2014.
According to the weekly average data from ChemOrbis, Middle Eastern LDPE currently trades almost at par with HDPE film, while they stand $10/ton below LLDPE C4 film. As for LDPE, prices at around $1050/ton or below were also talked for some Saudi cargos from traders.
The lingering cautiousness amid the persisting uncertainties for the post-election period will continue to put a strain on Türkiye’s PE market in the short term. Adding to the pressure have been plentiful offers from Asia, Europe and the USA for certain PE grades, reflecting the lethargic demand on a global scale.
India: LLDPE and HDPE traded above LDPE
India’s import PE markets have extended losses into the third consecutive month in May as demand remains weak just weeks ahead of the start of the monsoon season. Players reported that demand towards LDPE was the weakest among film grades. In early May, LLDPE and HDPE prices were quoted $10-20/ton higher than LDPE.
LDPE film prices on CIF India basis fell below the $1050/ton mark and were noted at 1030-1060/ton CIF India. The range indicated decreases of $50-60/ton compared to a month ago.
Southeast Asia: Mid-Eastern LDPE marginally lower than HDPE
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, ChemOrbis data reveal that Middle Eastern LDPE film offers have been traded about $5-15/ton below HDPE film of the same origin since early April. The weekly averages of Mid-Eastern origin offers currently stand at $1035/ton for HDPE film, at $1020/ton for LDPE film, and at $1005/ton for LLDPE film, all on CIF, cash basis.
China: LDPE at par with HDPE, first time since 2019
Unlike other major markets, LDPE is yet to move below HDPE and LLDPE grades in China but there is an undeniable downward pressure on the grade.
ChemOrbis data show that LDPE, which traditionally carries a premium over HDPE is now trading at par with the latter. The weekly averages of LDPE and HDPE for Mid-East origins are both now standing at $975/ton CIF China. Such an equality was last seen in August 2019.
LLDPE film prices of the same origin, meanwhile, have continued to stay below LDPE and HDPE film prices at $957/ton on average with similar terms. The product’s gap with LDPE film is now standing at $18/ton, the lowest level since April 2019.
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