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Recycled Polymers - Europe November 2019

by Marta D'Ortona -
  • 26/11/2019 (18:32)

Month: November 2019
€/ton €/ton
Recycled Grades MinMax
R-PET Flakes Clear/Blue 740920
R-PET Flakes Mixed Colours640680
R- HDPE Black Corrugated Pipes (PCR*)690870
R- HDPE Black Pipes (PIR**) 870910
R- LDPE Black Film (PCR*)500600
R- LDPE Film (PIR**)850900
R- homo-PP black injection(PIR**) 790820
R- homo-PP injection (PIR**)880920
R- PPBC injection (PIR**)8001010

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

R-PET Flakes clear mostly stable, light blue grade loses further ground in Nov

Prices in the R-PET Flakes market followed a stable to softer trend both in Italy and Northwest Europe in November on the heels of subdued demand, downward pressure from virgin material and growing interest for R-PET food grade pellets.

In Italy, the R-PET Flakes range was quoted at €810-880/ton for clear grade on FD basis in Italy, while prices for R-PET light blue grade were assessed stable to softer at €740-820/ton with the same terms. As for R-PET mixed colors flakes, prices saw a reduction after several months of a stable to firmer trend and were reported down by €40/ton from the month at €640-680/ton FD. R-PET Flakes prices for clear grade in Northwest Europe were stable to lower compared to October, at €850-920/ton FD.

In Italy, R-PET Flakes market was not able to gain ground in November despite the small hikes posted by post-consumer bottle bales. Clear grade material followed a mostly stable trend while light blue grade product saw a new round of decreases compared to October mainly due to the competitive edge offered by virgin PET, which is traded mostly at the same levels both in Italy and in Northwest Europe. Accordingly, the majority of players continued to secure only limited quantities of flakes in order to have some stocks on hand. A recycler said, “The pressure from virgin material is still considerable, but we have noticed a slight improvement in demand recently as more customers are adding a percentage of recycled material in their end-products. We have confidence that R-PET Flakes will start to see a recovery starting from the beginning of 2020.ʺ Another recycler shared similar comments, adding that a wait and see stance prevails among buyers as it is still not certain whether recycled products will be included in the proposed plastic tax in Italy or not. In Northwest Europe, flakes prices have also followed a stable to softer path due to similar prices in the prime PET market. Yet, a converter in the packaging sector based in Belgium said, “We know that several buyers preferred to replace flakes with virgin material due to extremely low prices, but we chose to focus on flakes products also this month as our customers are showing a good interest for recycled products and our demand has posted only a small decline due to the low season so far.ʺ

As for December, players don’t expect major changes heading towards the end of the year, with mostly stable to slightly softer prices awaited for next month. However, players think that R-PET Flakes may see a shift in direction starting from early 2020, with more balanced supply and demand dynamics and a possible firmer trend in the following months.

R-HDPE pipe prices notch another month of drops in November

R-HDPE pipe markets suffered a further slowdown in November due to scarce trading activities stemming from the hefty downward pressure from off-spec and near to prime materials. A recycler commented, “We decreased our prices as it is difficult to sell post-consumer materials with low off-spec prices. Plus, this is the low season for the pipe sector and buyers are not willing to build stocks. Demand for post-industrial R-HDPE pipe products is almost muted as buyers prefer to purchase off-spec or near to prime materials.” A converter in the pipe sector confirmed that this is low season for their applications and, for this reason, they preferred to skip their purchases for another month. “We prefer to conclude the year with low stocks and we decided to purchase some off-spec material instead of recycled products as the quality is better and the price gap between the two products is really tight.” Talking about the December outlook, buyers and sellers shared similar expectations. Players expect another month of possible decreases as demand is not expected to improve in the last month of the year due to destocking activities and low off-spec prices. Yet, a few sellers commented that they may try to remain firm on their current prices.

R-LDPE prices struggle to remain competitive on low LDPE prices

Unsupportive demand continued to play a key role in R-LDPE (PIR) market for November and prices followed a stable to slightly softer path. A distributor applied further reductions of around €20/ton on his post-industrial R-LDPE prices this month as supply remains comfortable while demand has decreased further in November due to attractive prime LDPE prices, which posted further reductions of around €30-40/ton in November and are slightly above the €900/ton threshold both in Italy and Northwest Europe. Prices were under pressure also for post-consumer R-LDPE material in November as they saw a reduction after several months of stability. A recycler opined that the current trend may start to change in the first quarter of 2020 if demand sees an improvement. As for December, however, expectations are for no major changes in the market.

Weaker demand pulls R-PP prices down again in November

After one month of stability, R-PP prices turned softer again in November amidst calmer demand and comfortable supply. Players reported that there are no supply issues in the region while buying interest is scarce nowadays due to the downtrend seen in virgin PP market and, as a consequence, in near to prime PP prices. A converter commented, “R-PP prices are mostly in line with near to prime or prime material price levels. For this reason, demand is weaker and we were able to obtain a €20/ton discounts compared to October. Supply, however, remains regular.” Sellers forecast a month of stability for December as they are not willing to concede to extra reductions. Buyers, on the other side, think that prices are likely to see a further softening next month as R-PP prices are too similar to near to prime PP prices.

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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