- Domestic trades dominate market discussions
- Raw material bales fall $100/mt due to strong availability
Asian recycled low density polyethylene prices moved down on falling prices of recycled bales.
R-LDPE bales were heard discussed at $600-$650/mt CFR China, with up to $300/mt as a pelletizing cost, according to a recycler. This was down around $100/mt from a month earlier, recyclers said.
The availability of R-LDPE seems to be increasing but the market still faces high freight rates and the unavailability of good quality recyclable raw material, with a loss of 15%-20% in processing cost, recyclers said.
Undersupply of recycled PE film dampens trade, traders said. Some sources said there was a slowdown in getting processing machines due to COVID-19-related staff restrictions, in addition to difficulty in securing recycled resin supply.
Recycled PE film demand was periodic, and replaceable with virgin, as the use of recycled films in Asia was not mandated and was only competitive when virgin prices were high, traders said. Demand for low-end materials was weak, while premium grades were in short supply, traders said.
Some traders said Southeast Asia only recycles around 25% of plastic scrap collected, due to a lack of recycling capability and outlets to sell.
A range of price indications were heard, with Malaysian recyclers being the lowest and the Thailand and Indonesia recyclers being the highest. However, this was due to the high import duty of Indonesia and Thailand pellets, at 10%-15%. Sellers said they were faced with expensive scrap and increasing processing and freight costs, while buyers in China did not want to pay higher prices.
Considering high freight rates for imported scrap, the cost of production by using virgin or recycled material works out to be the same, a few recyclers said, preferring local waste collection.
Prices of domestic pellets in Southeast Asia were higher than imports, traders said. In trade flows, China seems to be the biggest buyer of pellets, importing from Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, sources said. However, amid the lack of recycled scrap and difficulty of locating containers for export, export trade for recycled pellets has dried up and many Southeast Asian countries were trying to sell domestically, sources said.
Traders said licenses were hard to apply for for cash poor recycling companies, who needed to prove waste management investment and high-end recycling infrastructure.