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Recycled Polymers – Europe December 2019

by Marta D'Ortona -
  • 19/12/2019 (14:42)
Month: December 2019
€/ton €/ton
Recycled Grades Min Max
R-PET Flakes Clear/Blue 735 850
R-PET Flakes Mixed Colours640680
R-PET Pellets Food Grade13001400
R- HDPE Black Corrugated Pipes (PCR*)600700
R- HDPE Black Pipes (PIR**) 830880
R- LDPE Black Film (PCR*)480520
R- LDPE Film (PIR**)850900
R- homo-PP black injection(PIR**) 780820
R- homo-PP injection (PIR**)880920
R- PPBC injection (PIR**)8001000

* (post-consumer recycle)
** (post-industrial recycle)

R-PET Flakes see slightly softer trend in December, R-PET food steady

R-PET Flakes prices followed a softer trend in Italy and Northwest Europe, with limited reductions of €10/ton seen in Italy and larger decreases posted in the European market compared to last month. Meanwhile, R-PET pellets food grade saw a mostly stable trend in December.

The R-PET Flakes range was quoted at €800-870/ton for clear grade on FD basis in Italy, while prices for R-PET light blue grade were assessed stable to softer at €735-800/ton with the same terms. As for R-PET mixed colors flakes, prices were mostly stable from the month at €640-680/ton FD. R-PET Flakes prices for clear grade in Northwest Europe were down by around €50/ton from November at €790-850 /ton FD.
R-PET pellets food grade were assessed stable at €1300-1400/ton FD.

In Italy, R-PET Flakes market saw limited reductions of around €10/ton from the month due to comfortable supply and calm demand. Even though some players had anticipated possible small hikes in December, supply-demand dynamics and still attractive virgin PET prices did not give room for an increase in flakes market. A recycler said, “We sold good volumes of light blue grade as we were able to offer it on the low ends while we struggled to sell clear grade as our prices are still rather high. We were not able to increase our prices this month but we have confidence that flakes prices may gain some ground in January.” Buyers shared similar comments about the outlook of flakes prices in January, anticipating small increases of €10-20/ton for the beginning of 2020. In Northwest Europe, R-PET Flakes prices remained under pressure both from R-PET pellets and virgin PET, posting decreases of around €40-50/ton compared to last month. A packaging producer in Belgium commented, “We obtained some reductions this month as availability remains good for this product, although we think that it may become tighter in 2020 due to the increasing demand. For this reason, we may leave the spot market and focus on contract market instead, in order to avoid shortage issues in the future.” Players in Northwest Europe also expect a firmer trend starting from the beginning of next year.

As for R-PET pellets food grade, the market remained mostly stable this month, after several months of firmer trend. Players in Europe commented that demand for this product remains very high while overall availability is short and the majority of sellers reported to be sold out. The interest for this kind of product is not expected to decrease next year, with a recycler commenting, “We sell different recycled products and overall demand is tepid. However, demand for R-PET pellets remains healthy and we have new capacities to come online in 2020.” Expectations are for a firmer trend for the beginning of next year, assuming that demand will remain strong for this product.

R-HDPE pipe post sharp drops in December

R-HDPE pipe markets witnessed a fresh round of significant reductions during December due to persistently weak demand stemming from the competitiveness of virgin and off-spec materials. Plus, sellers were aiming to reduce pressure from stocks in the last month of the year. A recycler applied fresh notable reductions of €80-100/ton on his R- HDPE Black Corrugated Pipes (PCR) as auctions for post-consumer bales settled lower this month while buyers find more convenient for them to purchase off-spec material, considering low price levels. Another recycler commented, “We applied further reductions this month as demand remains bearish. Yet, seasonality is not the main factor driving the market down. We are not very optimistic for the future outlook if virgin HDPE market remains weak.” Recyclers also pointed out the fact that they struggle to sell post-industrial R- HDPE Black Pipes, despite the recent price erosions, as prices in the virgin market are at their multi-year lows and buyers prefer to cover their needs with prime quality products. Players expressed their concerns for the beginning of 2020 as they think that the current situation may remain unchanged until the end of the first quarter. Plus, a seller opined that a change is necessary in virgin HDPE market in order to ease some pressure on R-HDPE markets. Yet, long supply and low demand are not expected to ease soon in both markets.

R-LDPE closes the year stable to softer

R-LDPE markets were stable to lower in December as they suffer the competitiveness from prime and off-spec materials. Earlier in the month, players hoped to see a stabilization in virgin LDPE prices amid the slight increase in ethylene contracts. However, virgin markets turned softer again during the month and, as a consequence, off-spec prices have also decreased, stealing the scene to recycled products. A recycler commented, “Both post-consumer and post-industrial R-LDPE are under pressure from low off-grade prices. For this reason, we decreased our post-consumer R- LDPE Black Film prices while demand remains flimsy. According to players, expectations are for no major changes in the market for the beginning of 2020 as virgin markets are also expected to remain mostly stable.

R-PP stabilizes on balanced supply-demand

R-PP prices remained mostly stable in December, after posting a reduction in November on the heels of the downtrend in prime markets. Prices have stabilized this month as supply is slightly limited due to less availability of scraps, while demand remains rather calm. A converter commented that the overall situation remained similar to November as demand failed to improve. Another converter said, “We think that R-PP prices will remain stable in January, regardless of the next monomer outcome.” Accordingly, players concur that big variations in the market are not possible as long as virgin material markets do not see a real shift in direction.

Price ranges reported include an average freight cost to the customers’ location as well as duties if applicable, although VAT is not included.
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