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Tight supply keeps European PE prices firm

  • 17/03/2016 (09:30)
Players in Europe report that the PE market is tracking a firm trend for March in spite of the lower settlement of the monthly ethylene contract. Limited availability on the part of several regional producers as well as healthy demand were cited as the main factors supporting prices.

A trader based in Germany reported concluding deals for Saudi Arabian LDPE film with €20/ton increases while adding that their deals for European and Middle Eastern HDPE and LLDPE settled with rollovers. “LDPE supply is tight and this helped push up prices for this product. We have seen healthy demand this month, especially for HDPE,” the trader added. Another German trader reported purchasing West and Central European cargoes with rollovers from February while adding that their suppliers have advised them that supply may tighten further in the coming weeks.

In Italy, a manufacturer in the packaging sector settled their deals for Middle Eastern and West European LDPE with rollovers to €20/ton increases from February. “We were able to locate more attractively-priced Middle Eastern cargoes earlier in the month, but these offers are no longer available,” the buyer stated. A stretch film manufacturer added, “We have only purchased some mLLDPE this month with rollovers as we were satisfied with our stock levels for other products. Prices at the lower end of the LDPE range for European origins are becoming increasingly scarce as the month wears on.”

A distributor based in Italy said that they concluded deals for West European and Middle Eastern cargoes with rollovers for LDPE and LLDPE and €20/ton hikes for HDPE. “We were able to achieve price increases on HDPE given limited supply and healthy demand for this product. We have seen a good quantity of LLDPE imports entering the country this month,” the distributor reported.

In production news, the Czech Republic’s Unipetrol reportedly shut its 320,000 tons/year HDPE plant for a turnaround on March 15, with the unit set to restart on April 30. LyondellBasell’s LDPE plant in Aubette, France, which was shut for a turnaround towards the end of February, is set to remain offline until mid-April. The unit is able to produce 320,000 tons/year of LDPE. In addition, Ineos is planning to conduct a shutdown at its 440,000 tons/year HDPE plant in Lillo, Belgium starting in April.
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