Sellers in Italy’s spot PP market initially asked for increases ranging from €30-70/ton for their April PP offers following the settlement of the monthly propylene contract with a €50/ton increase, as per ChemOrbis. In line with these hike requests, the spot market level for homo injection prices moved up in the first half of the month. The higher propylene contract, plus, sellers’ tight availability supported them in their search for higher PP prices. Buyers, on the other hand, were quite wary of these hike targets in the first place. They remained on the sidelines waiting for the second half of the month in anticipation of comparatively lower levels. Fewer working days in April, due to holidays, also kept them away from the market. Even though supply constraints for European cargoes were confirmed by buyers, they did not complain about being unable to find material as the market was considered balanced between sluggish demand and limited availability. With the passing of the first half of the month, some easing has been witnessed in local spot prices this week. As a result of the resistance built on the buyers’ side, the offers forming the high end of the ranges last week have not been repeated this week, causing the high ends to slump €30/ton. Apart from weak demand, the real pressure on spot PP offers has come from non-European origins as they have broken the low end threshold that was established last week. A machine parts manufacturer reported buying some promptly available South African PP injection at prices standing at least €25/ton below the European offers, as per ChemOrbis. At the same time, much lower prices from Saudi Arabia, India and Far East Asia are also reported available for May delivery and are offered €40-80/ton below the local European cargoes on import terms. Some deals were concluded for these materials.
There is a large delta between the local PP prices in Italy and import PP prices to Turkey, including customs duties if applicable, confirming the premium Italy carries over nearby spot markets. These competitively priced non-European origins appear to be jeopardizing the full hike targets of European sellers for April amidst poor demand. Indeed, Europe has its door open to imports particularly when considering that poor demand conditions in China are shifting sellers’ attention to other markets.