Polymer Price Know-How: April 2022

The latest instalment of Price Know-How has been released by leading polymer distributor, Plastribution. Price Know-How helps plastic raw material buyers make informed purchasing decisions. This month, surging monomer costs bring upward pressure to polymer prices.

Overview: April 2022

Plastribution: Mike Price Know-How

The significant hikes in contract monomer prices have surprised the market, with most observers referencing the fact that crude oil prices have ended the month close to where they were at the beginning. However, the situation is not all about the crude oil price and as is now apparent, crude oil is not necessarily a good proxy for energy costs when much of that energy is derived from natural gas, of which Russia is a key source of supply.

This is because the logistics of moving gas around the globe is much more complex, requiring pipelines and very specialist ships, rather than oil tanker fleet logistics which is more commonplace as a means of moving product from source to destination. High energy costs combined with concerns about the supply of naphtha from Russia has spurred suppliers into asking for contract C2 (ethylene), C3 (propylene) and SM (styrene monomer) at prices that will be record highs.

Obviously, polymer producers are looking to pass these monomer cost increases through the supply chain, however, polymer converters, who are already feeling the pressure of high raw material prices, significant energy cost increases and the new UK Packaging Tax are trying hard to resist.

In the graph below, there is a clear gap between spot and contract monomer prices. It now remains to be seen if that gap is closed as either contract prices moderate or spot prices catch up:

Plastribution: Plastribution: Spot vs. Contract Feedstock Prices: May 2020 – April 2022
Click here to view the interactive graph for free within the full Price Know-How report.

Many polymer buyers are limiting purchasing from both a funding perspective and for fear that prices may have or may soon have peaked. This approach may still leave sellers with a significant amount of control, as material will be tight in the marketplace.

April is likely to be an interesting and significant month.

Oil Prices

Plastribution: April Oil PricesOil prices have become increasingly volatile. The initial rapid price increases that took place after Russia invaded Ukraine have more recently been countered both by fears of further lockdowns in the Chinese economy due to fresh outbreaks of COVID-19 and by the decision of the US government to release strategic reserves.

It is of note that natural gas prices remain high, largely because it is more difficult to switch away from Russian sources due to the relative difficulty of transporting natural gas compared to crude oil.

 

Exchange Rates

Plastribution April Exchange RatesThe USD has continued to strengthen over the past two months.

The GBP has remained stable against the Euro, trading in a tight range between 1.18 and 1.21

Polyolefins

The graphics below are for illustrative purposes only. For full analysis, including in-depth insights from Plastribution’s expert product managers for each market segment and product group, view the full report for free on the Price Know-How website here.

Plastribution: Polyolefins Feedstocks graph

Styrenics

Plastribution Styrenics graph
Engineering Polymers

Plastribution Engineering Polymers graph

Price Know-How: April 2022 Full Report

Visit the Price Know-How website to read the April 2022 update in full, including an in-depth analysis of each market segment and material group by Plastributions expert product managers.

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Price Know-How is an industry-leading report produced to keep you updated on polymer pricing and market fluctuations. A trusted, go-to resource for over a decade, Price Know-how is produced by the thermoplastics experts at leading polymer distributor, Plastribution with data from Plastics Information Europe.

Unlike many pricing reports, Price Know-How is tailored specifically for the UK polymer industry. We do all the currency conversions so you don’t need to!

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