According to ChemOrbis Price Index, spot LDPE and LLDPE prices in Europe have recently been reported at their lowest levels not seen since 2015. Initial PE deals started to be concluded at a rollover for February despite the pressure from weak market fundamentals.
Some players are still on the sidelines, waiting for small discounts in deals in the second half of the month. They are mainly pointing to ample supplies and weak demand. “Although ethylene contracts settled stable, the lack of supply issues and unspectacular demand may weigh on prices,” some argued.
The pressure from import offers is also supporting buyers in their quest for discounts in their monthly deals with their European suppliers.
Non-European PE offers particularly from the Middle East and US are offering a competitive edge, standing at least €50/ton below the offers for local origins in the spot market.
However, sellers mostly disregard the possibility of seeing discounts in the near term. “This expectation does not have a leg to stand on when local prices have already been standing at multi-year lows. We are at the bottom,” claimed some distributors.
Others pointed to the upcoming cracker maintenances, which have already triggered expectations of seeing a higher settlement for ethylene for next month. The upstream naphtha market has also been firm so far in February.