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European PP prices are at their lowest level since February 2010

November 24/2011

(ICIS) -- European polypropylene (PP) prices are flat, at their lowest level since February 2010, and market players do not see any significant upturn in the weeks to come, several sources said on Thursday. “Inventories are currently at 840,000 tonnes/year in Europe,” said one player who considered a normal sales month to be around 700,000 tonnes/year.

“Production is reduced and will be for some time,” said another source, adding; “but even at reduced levels, say 85%, there will be 31 producing days in December and only 17 days of sales. We will be going out of the year with high stocks.”

One producer gave its vision for the weeks to come: “December will be flat and we can expect a ?10/tonne ($13/tonne) increase in January, followed by another ?20/tonne in February.”
“We don’t expect much improvement in the market before quarter two 2012,” said another producer.

Spot sales are currently the domain of producers, as traders cannot get hold of the prices they need to compete with them. Homopolymer injection prices are now at ?1,030/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) on a net basis. The November propylene contract price stands at ?1,013/tonne FD NWE.

Monthly prices are at higher levels as many are propylene or index-linked. Discussions over 2012 business are now taking place and several buyers are attempting to move away from linked business which has proved to be to their detriment in 2011.

Perspectives of development of the polymers markets, pricing issues and other important aspects will be discussed at The Polymers Summit-2011, which will be held in Moscow on November 30, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Summit is organized by MRC with the support of ICIS. The main idea of the Summit is to find a "the golden mean" between producers and converters. When producers receive exactly such margin of production, which helps them to invest in production expansion in order to substitute polymers imports, and the converters receive such price of feedstock that helps them to compete imported finished products. The Summit site gives an access to the live video of the Summit, speakers" presentations, as well as opportunities to ask questions or make appointments to any Summit partcipant.

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