Tight propylene supply propels March PP prices in Europe

25-Feb-10
The March monthly propylene contract price settled on 23 February at €910/ton (US$1247/ton), rising by €35/ton from the February contract price, as per ICIS. Polypropylene (PP) buyers in Europe will be under heavy pressure to accept higher prices in March on supply constraints mainly due to propylene supply constraints that have been aggravated by the recent strike at Total in France. The propylene market in Europe is tight because production at crackers and refineries has been cut back to avoid oversupply. INEOS plans to increase March PP prices by €70/ton from February. PP makers aim to regain margins that have not been very healthy since the beginning of the year, mainly due to the high cost of spot propylene. In the two month period of January and February, propylene monthly contracts rose by €125/ton, whereas PP prices increased by €150-170/ton, leaving homopolymer injection net prices in the range of €1020-1050/ton FD (free delivered) NWE. Buying in Europe is happening strictly on a hand-to-mouth basis in anticipation of lower prices due to new capacities coming on stream in the Middle East and Asia. Supply has been delayed from these new start ups, since full production capacity has not yet been achieved by these new plants.
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