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LDPE prices rise faster than other PP, PE products in India’s bullish market

by Shibu Itty Kuttickal -
  • 07/02/2024 (11:58)
In India, PE and PP grades have generally seen an uptrend over the last month on tighter supplies and a seasonal demand strengthening in the first quarter of the year. It is also noteworthy that LDPE prices have posted larger increases than all others.

The polyolefins markets in India typically see prices rising in the first quarter, which is a procurement season, even as turnarounds squeeze import availabilities. LDPE film prices have surged over the last month also because of increasing demand for packaging material, said traders in the country. They also said an import quality certification that was put in place from early January has also tightened availabilities for import PE grades.

Moreover, all grades received a boost from an increase in energy and feedstock prices over the last one month. Ethylene prices have risen by about 12-13% since January to $950/ton CFR China and $960/ton CFR Southeast Asia, while propylene rose by about 4% over the same period to $860/ton CFR China and $840/ton FOB South Korea.

Demand for packaging material boosts LDPE

LDPE film import prices in India were noted in a mid-$1100s/ton range, or about 8% higher than prices noted about a month ago. One trader said import LDPE film prices changed hands at around $1300/ton, significantly higher than market levels two weeks ago, but this level was not considered representative of the current market situation.

A Mumbai based trader said, “We’ve seen an increased buying activity for LDPE for the packaging industry lately. Moreover, energy and ethylene prices have risen and may continue to rise, with geopolitical tensions raging and freight rates staying on the rise. Add to that the turnarounds, especially in the Middle East, and we seem to have a perfect storm brewing for prices rising.”

LL, HD supplies tighten

The price of HDPE film also rose, with the latest offers reported in a $1040-1060/ton range, or about 4% higher than prices noted a month ago. “HDPE prices have stayed on an uptrend in the last few weeks amid higher pricing discussions and a generally bullish market,” a trader based in Delhi said. “We think demand is firming up for both film and blow molding grades, with local supply seen getting tighter,” he added.

The latest pricing discussions were also heard higher by about 4% from last month for LLDPE film — trading at about $1000/ton CIF India. “Like the other grades, LLDPE prices have also seen demand looking up,” the trader said. “Demand has strengthened from December, and we’ve seen offer levels continuing to rise,” he added. LLDPE in India is mostly supplied from local production and the supply is currently thought to be stable.

Raffia prices rise above $1000

As for homo-PP raffia and injection, the latest import prices were noted mostly in a $1000-1030/ton CIF India range, compared to the $975-995/ton CIF range reported about a month ago, suggesting a 3-4% increase. Deals were noted at a $1005-1015/ton, with bids mostly hovering around $1000/ton.

“While sellers kept offers at as high as $1040/ton, there was resistance noted at the high levels. We think PP prices haven’t yet seen a big strengthening in demand. Perhaps the supply situation is not as tight as that of PE,” the Delhi-based trader said.

PP, PE imports in November fall by 23-24%

Meanwhile, latest import statistics as noted from ChemOrbis Stats Wizard indicate November PE imports into India falling by about 23% on a year-on-year basis, and by about 12% from October, to about 208,400 tons. PP imports also fell during the month by 24% year-on-year and by 30% from October to 116,710 tons. December and January import numbers are awaited.
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