Polymer Price Know-How – May 2023

The leading polymer distributor, Plastribution, has released the latest instalment of Price Know-How. Price Know-How helps plastic raw material buyers make informed purchasing decisions. This month, there is still the feeling that polymer supply is plentiful and that further price reductions are likely. On the other hand, polymer producers will be eager to restore the supply-demand balance in their favour and start moving prices back up.

Overview: May 2023

Prices continue to soften as polymer supply exceeds demand.

The spike in oil price at the end of March, caused by OPEC announcing a 1.2 million barrels per day cut back in production, was short-lived. Concerns about the global economic outlook dominated price action through the second half of April.

These concerns also dominated price action in the polymer raw materials sector with prices typically falling by amounts equal to, or in excess of, their respective monomer decreases from March to April. Overall, there was plentiful supply and sellers continued to discount prices in an attempt to secure orders.

Feedstock costs for May have settled with a smaller decrease for C2 and C3 compared to April, although the aromatics have moved up in price with Benzene continuing to be relatively volatile. It is noted that SM has only recorded part of the benzene gain, which in part may be explained by the C2 reduction, but more likely reflects the weakness of the PS market.

At the start of May, there is still the feeling that polymer supply is plentiful and that further price reductions are likely. On the other hand, polymer producers will be eager to restore the supply / demand balance back in their favour and start moving prices back up, but this appears to be an unlikely scenario for May.

Polyolefins

May has seen further drops in Polyolefin pricing following the slight Monomer reduction of €10 / MT for Ethylene C2 and €15 / MT for Propylene C3.

Prices continue to vary between different products due to supply / demand balances. LDPE continues to see low demand and good availability and is typically falling around €50 / MT. However, HDPE appears to be a little bit more restricted in supply and is falling by monomer. PP is in a stronger position with Impact Copolymer resisting falls in some cases and European Production is scaled back and imports are not always to the right specification.

Outlook for June is currently looking like close to rollover as we reach the point where European Producers will not be able to continue competing with imports and will shut down production. Whilst these are not the lowest prices we’ve seen in recent history; Producers are facing significantly higher production costs than in 2020. Consequently, further price drops will be heavily resisted by Producers.

Styrenics

Engineering Polymers

 

Price Know-How: May 2023 Full Report

Visit the Price Know-How website to read the May 2023 update, including an in-depth analysis of each market segment and material group by Plastribution’s expert product managers.

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Price Know-How is an industry-leading report 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 the 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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