NPE2018 Show Daily - Friday

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FRIDAY N PE 2 018 M AY 11TH 81 A M E R I M O L D E X P O . C O M REGISTER NOW! PRESENTED BY: BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES for mold builders and mold buyers EXHIBIT HALL featuring machine tools, mold components, tooling, materials, software, more AMERIMOLD TECH TALKS on designing, machining, maintaining molds BOOTH SALES ARE OPEN CO-LOCATED WITH: Novi, MI | June 13-14, 2018 OVER MOLDING COMPOSITES PP Bucks Flat-to-Down Trend for Commodity Resin Prices By Lilli Manolis Sherman Plascs Technology PVC pipe converters had been supporঞve of both the Feb- ruary and March price hikes in the expectaঞon that they, in turn, would be able to push up pipe prices. Two weeks ago, it appeared that prices of four large vol- ume commodity resins were on a flat-to-downward trajectory. Once again, the excepঞon might sঞll be PP, which a[er a dou- ble-digit dip, may move up a bit. This owing to a bit of a slide in propylene monomer but mostly due to suppliers' intent to push through an expansion margin increase of 3-5 ¢/lb—a move iniঞated back in March. This according to purchasing consultants Resin Technology Inc. (RTi) in Booth S12023, PetroChemWire (PCW), and Michael Greenberg, CEO of the Plasঞcs Exchange. ● PE: Prices were flat in April, as suppliers unsuccessfully bid to implement their March 3¢/lb price hike, with at least one pushing it up to May 1—this as there was market talk of downward pricing last month. Mike Burns, RTi's v.p. of client services for PE, for one, ventured that May PE prices would likely drop 2-4¢/lb. PCW's senior editor David Barry reports PE spot prices as flat-to-lower, and characterizes supply as balanced for most grades, except for certain LDPE and HMWPE film grades. Also, he says domesঞc spot buyers were inacঞve, but that underlying demand was good. The Plasঞcs Exchange's Green- berg puts it this way, "Buyers were quiet, sensing no real threat of rising prices as suppliers pushed off their April in- crease, shading doubt upon any success in May." Both PCW and Burns note that PE plants were operaঞng at good rates— low 90s percenঞle—with inventories building as a result. "Overall, I don't think a price hike can be achieved for the rest of the year, barring oil prices spiking significant- ly—10-15% or about $7-10/bbl above current prices, false demand in the third quarter due to per-hurricane season, or actual hurricane producঞon disrupঞons," sums up Burns. ● PP: Prices in April generally were flat-to-down 1¢/lb in step with propylene monomer contracts. Though some indus- try sources reported a 1¢/lb margin expansion increase at some accounts, RTi's v.p. of PP markets Sco• Newell main- tains that this by far was not marketwide, and says he saw April PP prices dropping by 1¢ with the monomer in most cases. PP imports have also been above average since Hurricane Harvey, so that accounts for a piece of the domesঞc demand taken away. He saw first quarter at about 1.2% domesঞc neg- aঞve growth. He noted that days of supplier inventories are a well-balanced 31.3 days. ● PS: PCW's Barry reports PS spot prices as steady amid light trading acঞvity. Supply was balanced and in the last week of April, Total Petrochemical removed its force majeure declaraঞon for PS which had been in place since January 23. PS suppliers implemented increases totaling 6¢/lb in the Feb- ruary-March ঞme frame, and April prime market prices were said to be holding at March levels. However, PS feedstock costs have since fallen. Styrene spot prices have returned to early January levels, benzene has retreated from the $3.10- 3.10/gal in January to $2.90-3.00/gal. range in April. And, ethylene has plummeted from around 27¢/lb in early January to 13¢/lb in the last week of April. PCW's Barry reports spot PP prices as higher amid ঞght supply and healthy demand. Similarly, Greenberg reports high acঞvity at the end of April, venturing that buyers were recog- nizing upwards pressure in contract pricing and aimed to se- cure material beyond their current needs. All three sources report that spot monomer prices had begun to move up due to planned and unplanned outages that have kept things snug. Newell ventures that May monomer contracts have the potenঞal to se•le up 1-2 ¢/lb. As for PP, Greenberg ventures that some of the 3-5¢/lb margin expansion increase will likely take hold within second quarter—this despite a steady flow of fresh offers seen on the spot market. Newell ventures that in addiঞon to the potenঞal monomer increase, PP suppliers could get a 1-2¢ margin expansion in May. Says Newell, "The market is not loose but it's not too ঞght either, and the numbers simply do not show the purported ঞghtness." Plant operaঞng rates in first quarter were only at 84-85%, yet with a supplier inventory buildup of 70 million lb. ● PVC: PCW's senior editor Donna Todd reports that PVC suppliers had good news and bad news by the end of April from a market pundit. On the plus side, the success of the March 2¢/lb increase was confirmed. On the other hand, the 2¢/lb hike was predicted to come back out of the contract price for April. Falling ethylene prices and dropping PVC export numbers were said to be the reason for the quick turnaround in resin pricing. According to Todd, pipe converters had been supporঞve of both the February and March price hikes in the expectaঞon that they, in turn, would be able to push up pipe prices. In contrast, those not in the pipe side of the business say the March 2¢/lb increase should never have been implemented as both ethylene prices and PVC export prices had been dropping back in March. The Resin Technology Inc. booth in the South Hall.

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