Houston — The spot US polypropylene export price rose to the highest level in 29 months amid supply woes and firm feedstock monomer pricing.
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Supply issues hampered the market during most of the second half of 2020 following two hurricanes making landfall on the US Gulf Coast followed by key maintenances, sources said. Higher export pricing has had participants sourcing pellets from more competitive regions to satisfy customer demand.
S&P Global Platts assessed US spot export PP up $122 day on day Jan. 20 at $1,709-$1,731/mt (77.5-78.5 cents/lb) FAS Houston basis, with rail car pricing discussed around 75 cents/lb. The FAS assessment includes an additional 3 cents/lb to cover packaging and transportation costs.
The previous high for US PP was on Aug. 6, 2018, at $1,709-$1,731/mt (77.5-78.5 cents/lb).
Since the year-ago date, the assessment has risen $452, or 35.6% from $1,268/mt (57.5 cents/lb) FAS Houston.
The marker could continue to climb in the short term. One seller source said limited availability coupled with firm monomer could have pricing at the 80-cent mark.
Upstream, spot polymer-grade propylene for front-month January was assessed at 62.875 cents/lb FD USG on Jan. 20, up 1.75 cents on the day. That marker reached its highest level since Jan. 26, 2018, when it was assessed at 63.75 cents/lb, Platts data showed.
Increased demand and snug supply pressured that pricing higher, sources said.