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, feedstocks moving in different directions create challenges for both buyers and sellers.
Overview: July 2022
For polyolefin buyers, the further drop in feedstock prices will signal significant reductions in PP and PE pricing for July. Meanwhile, many European polyolefin producers are curbing output to achieve both a better balance of supply & demand and to address the poor economics of production. For many processors, thoughts are already turning towards the end of summer when there is a possibility that prices will once again be on the increase.
Converters of engineering polymers based on benzene feedstocks (PC, PA6 and PA66), along with buyers of styrenic polymers (ABS, GPPS, HIPS & SAN), will observe the strong hike in aromatics, including SM, with significant concern as producers will look to push increases through the supply chain. The situation on SM will also be affected by a current force majeure affecting European producers of propylene oxide, from which SM is produced as a by-product in a ratio of 2:1.
The underlying cause of the recent volatility is complex, but is in no small part related to a strong demand for transport fuels, which in the case of ‘aromatics’ is limiting supply and in the case of olefins is causing excess supply. This situation looks likely to persist whilst displaced Russian origin transport fuels are not substituted by products of alternative origin.
Pricing in July has continued on a downward trajectory, with monomers seeing substantial drops. However, supply & demand has been the main driver behind the significant reductions offered.
With downstream demand weak from struggling economies, buyers have enjoyed plenty of time and choice to make decisions, leading to producers and traders offering lower and lower pricing to secure the limited business available. Prices have fallen throughout the month as the supply & demand balance was further shaken.
Warehouses are full, supply from European production is unaffected and imports are starting to arrive from USA and the Middle East – a perfect storm to drive prices down.
Polypropylene has suffered bigger drops as end user demand is particularly weak in this area. Whilst some grades of PE, mainly HDPE blow moulding grades, have shown some resilience, no grade remains unaffected by the slump in demand.
Prices are likely to slip further in August, but a market bottom is expected relatively soon. If demand doesn’t improve sufficiently post summer, producers will start to restrict supply to bolster prices. The best many producers will hope for is a stop to the price reductions, increases are not expected in the immediate future.
Price Know-How: July 2022 Full Report
Visit the Price Know-How website to read the July 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.
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