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                  Past Reports
                Weekly Market Update
                ThePlasticsExchange.com
                Market Update
                March 6, 2020

                Summary

                Spot resin trading could best be characterized as cautious as the calendar flipped to March - it took a strong Friday to bring the week’s completed volume up to a satisfying figure. While there was a good flow of buyer inquiries, processors were a bit shy to confirm orders and those that did conclude, were generally for truckloads rather than railcars. Some additional deals were done with resellers for urgent shipment due to railcar delays from Canada; otherwise, traders were looking to sell surplus inventory rather than add to current stocks. Fresh Polyethylene offers were slow to develop, with railcars perhaps held back as producers sought to keep the market tight with another $.04/lb increase at hand. Fresh Polypropylene offerings were a bit better, but at higher prices, as producers look to secure a $.03/lb margin increase for March. Export demand persisted, but primarily from regions other than Asia.

                The major energy markets were mixed amid very volatile trading. The Oil complex was higher for most of the week and then took a nasty hit on Friday after OPEC was unable to agree to a production cut. April WTI prices swung in a 17% range during the week and ultimately dropped $3.48/bbl to $41.28/bbl. Oil bulls were hoping for the cut in order to stem the slide which has gripped WTI ever since pricing peaked around $65/bbl in early 2020. Brent Oil followed a similar pattern, but lost even more, falling a sharp $4.40/bbl to $45.27/bbl. Natural Gas futures also started the week with strength before faltering. The April Nat Gas contract gave back $.14/mmBtu of gains but remained in positive territory, settling Friday at $1.708/mmBtu, still up a net $.024/mmBtu. NGLs both lost ground; Ethane shed $.005/gal to $.139/gal ($.059/lb). Propane lost $.03/gal to $.366/gal ($.104/lb).

                The monomer markets were moderately active, visible volume was only about average and prices were mostly flat. Spot Ethylene rolled to March and prices were bid up a bit until material changed hands at $.1425/lb, up more than a cent. Prices eased back to $.135/lb by the weekend for a net half-cent gain. The forward curve remained in slight contango for the balance of 2020 and Ethylene for all of 2021 transacted a shade over $.15/lb. Propylene began the week quietly, prices were then bid up before high volumes transacted in the deferred months. March PGP sold at $.295/lb before easing back to end the week at $.29/lb, up $.01/lb. Current spot levels indicate that a moderate decrease could be forthcoming for March contracts, but there is still plenty of time before negotiations reach high gear.

                Polyethylene trading was a bit on the light side and spot prices were steady to a penny lower. The flow of fresh offers was also slower with few Prime railcars shown to the market, which was not surprising given the $.04/lb price increase on the table for March. Spot demand was off as buyers remained cautious, caught between the need to procure material for ongoing business and growing economic concern due to the spread of the Coronavirus. This was evident by the multitude of truckload orders whereas railcar demand had reigned supreme during the first 2 months of 2020. Export demand continued to hum along nicely, highlighted by Latin American shipments; the slowdown in China has not yet been overly evident in terms of excess material flooding the market.

                Spot Polypropylene trading was unenthusiastic; we completed an average volume of transactions and prices held flat despite Coronavirus and geopolitical uncertainty rattling markets. There was a relatively heavy flow of offgrade railcars, but specifications were mostly undesirable. There were moderate supplies of all Prime commodity PP grades and sellers generally sought a premium for material that was available for immediate shipment. Trading was evenly split between HoPP and CoPP and offgrade was favored over Prime given price. Processors picked away with truckload orders and some railcars sold to traders with customer orders in hand, but not for their added inventory. Stronger spot prices and tight upstream resin supplies could help producers secure their $.03/lb increase over the change in PGP monomer for March contracts.

                Total Offers 10,801,340 lbs Spot Contract
                ResinTotal lbsLowHighBidOffer
                PP Homo2,320,024$.420$.520$.450$.490
                HDPE - Inj1,746,392$.360$.440$.360$.400
                LLDPE - Film1,266,116$.380$.480$.360$.400
                PP Copo1,134,748$.460$.550$.470$.510
                LLDPE - Inj1,083,472$.450$.520$.460$.500
                LDPE - Film931,196$.480$.575$.500$.540
                HDPE - Blow Mold881,736$.380$.450$.360$.400
                HMWPE - Film759,104$.380$.430$.350$.390
                LDPE - Inj678,552$.470$.520$.450$.490
                 
                 
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