Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) buyers in Europe are faced with announcements of rollovers or price increases for September, following decreases in ethylene and propylene monthly monomer contracts, as per ICIS. September ethylene monomer contract settled at €1,115/ton (US$1570/ton) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), down by just €5/ton from its August level, while the September propylene contract settled down by €37/ton at €1,078/ton FD NWE. The first week of September was unusually quiet in the polyolefin sector, but has been attributed to the holidays. However, there is a level of concern over demand in Europe, and producers are groping for some clarity.
Dow is seeking a €50/ton increase in PE for September. This is widely thought to be overambitious, and a competitor is targeting an increase of a €20/ton. Also, the PE market is rife with reports of spot offers of western European low density polyethylene (LDPE) on offer below August levels, barely above the new ethylene contract in some cases, at €1,130-1,150/ton FD NWE. This level is not confirmed by any western European source. High density polyethylene (HDPE) sources see less competition among sellers, but await signs of buyers accepting hikes for September. Polypropylene (PP) buyers are looking for a bigger decrease in September, hoping to get at least part of the €37/ton decrease in September propylene. Another element adding to uncertainty in the polyolefins markets is the volatility upstream. On Monday morning, Brent crude oil had fallen to $111.36/bbl, from its Friday close of $112.33/bbl.