Players in the Italian market are gradually returning from the long Christmas holidays, as per ChemOrbis. The country’s polymer markets continue to feel lethargy of the year-end holidays as many players are away on extended holidays, while some buyers, who had pre-bought for the first half of January, are not in a hurry to purchase. Although the market is not fully operational yet, reports from players who have already returned to their desks indicate an upturn for all polymer prices this month.
Higher upstream costs are the main reason behind the firming sentiment. This month, the monomer contracts in Europe rose by €20/ton for propylene and €40/ton for ethylene, while benzene settlements are settling with large increases of €189/ton and €194/ton over December, drawing a bullish outlook for the awaited new styrene contracts. While the market is trying to shrug off the holiday lethargy, a distributor reported yesterday that he is planning to offer his January shipment PP and PS materials with increases because of the higher propylene contracts and the expected increases in the new styrene settlements. “We are yet to receive new prices from our West European suppliers but we are planning to raise our PP prices by €20/ton over December, in line with the propylene contract price increase,” he stated. A converter also reported that a West European PP supplier is mulling over €20-30/ton increases for January.“We won’t pay any increases of more than €20/ton this month,” the buyer said. As for PS, a distributor is mulling over a larger increase of €150/ton over December as per ChemOrbis. “Although the new styrene contracts have not been settled yet, we are confident that they will be settled with large increases, therefore we are mulling over a €150/ton increase even though demand is not likely to be great this month,” he commented. In the PVC market, a major West European producer officially announced their January GA prices with increases of €50/ton from December, in line with their sell ideas. “We are forced to seek these price hikes because of higher feedstock costs,” a company source commented. “Over the past few months, PVC prices posted larger decreases than that seen in feedstock prices and now we have to recover our lost margins,” he also added.