Price Know-How:
August 2022

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Polyolefin feedstock prices move in line with Crude Oil, whilst Benzene and Styrene monomer prices crash.

The further reduction in C2 and C3 pricing was widely anticipated by polyolefin buyers and the scale closely matches the fall in crude oil pricing, with more plentiful supply in propylene resulting in a slightly larger reduction than for ethylene.

PP and PE buyers will look to see these changes reflected in their August purchases on the basis that the market well-supplied and seasonal demand is low. For many polyolefin buyers, there is also the question of when the market may start to turn and therefore when to start pre-empting any price increases.

The scale of the price reductions for benzene and styrene monomer were astonishing and corrections were more significant than expected. Whilst the implications in terms of styrenic polymer pricing will be significant, what is less clear is the effect that these reductions will have on engineering polymers, which are based upon benzene and its derivatives.

It is likely that producers will point out that benzene is notoriously volatile and that August pricing is an overcorrection, alongside other cost inflationary factors such as energy and transport that have not translated into higher prices. The global view, that is trending towards recession, has the potential to put engineering polymer pricing under pressure, as these materials are typically used in higher value consumer durable products, for which demand is likely to drop.

The implication of restricted Russian gas supplies to Europe and its potential impact on petrochemical manufacturing alongside other industrial sectors is a significant unknown. Energy intensive industries like metal and glass may be shuttered in preference to plastics packaging, which could result in exceptional demand for plastic bottles, pouches and containers. Such a surge would readily overcome weakening demand from slowing economies.

Monomer Price Movement
Change (Contract)
C2 (Ethylene)
C3 (Propylene)
SM (Styrene Monomer)
Brent Crude
Exchange Rate

Mike Boswell
Managing Director – Plastribution Group

Oil Prices

Exchange Rates

UK Economic Data







Real GDP (Q on Q)

Q1 2022


UK Output

Manufacturing Index

Q1 2022



New Car Registrations (Y on Y)




Retail Sales (Y on Y)




Unemployment Rate




CPI (Y on Y)




RPI (Y on Y)



Interest Rates

Bank of England Base Rate




Pricing in August continued to fall as monomers slipped further and demand continued to be weak in the face of uninterrupted supply.

C2 ethylene dropped by at least €70 / MT. Some grades of PE, including HD blow moulding grades, have seen more balanced supply & demand, so have not experienced such drastic falls. However, LDPE has been in an oversupply situation in the UK, seeing bigger drops of €150 / MT.

C3 Propylene dropped €85 / MT and is experiencing some pressure, since downstream uses of C3 are weak and supply is very strong. Homopolymer pricing continues to be under a lot of pressure as supply is ample. Co-polymer supply is less so, but large volume deals have resulted in some very competitive pricing.

Some suggest that we are either at or very close to the bottom of the current pricing cycle. August has not seen much of a continued downward trend throughout the month so far. Prices seem to be holding roughly around the same levels we saw the first week, with only a few discounted offers available on specific grades. Buying interest appears to be picking up, leading to more confidence from sellers. Whilst a rebound is unlikely, we are likely to see a stop to the price reductions in September as much of Europe returns from the holiday season and demand starts to pick up.

Ian Chisnall
Product Manager – Polyolefins

Polyolefins Feedstocks
£/Metric Tonne by month



LDPE pricing dropped in August by approx. £120 / MT+ but with a wide range of starting points, there was a broad range of reductions.

Whilst spot deals for 1,000 MT+ deals were reported at £1,200 / MT, the general market price was £1,320-£1,400 / MT.



LLDPE pricing has dropped by approx. £60-80 / MT, roughly in line with monomer as with some supply chain issues, imports were not as readily available as expected. LLDPE C4 is in a range of £1,180-£1,250 / MT with LLDPE C6 commanding around £200 / MT premium as it dropped less this month with a more balanced supply picture.

Metallocene saw further falls as supply remained ample. Local producers and importers of US / Korean grades sought deals on these grades to move product. Outlook for September looks more bullish than recent months with expectations of better demand.



HDPE has dropped into August but with variability from grade to grade. Blow Moulding grades are holding up better than most with relatively strong demand compared to other processing sectors. Enquiries for Blow Moulding grade were relatively strong but after the spot deals of July, volume was more limited.

Prices stayed stronger at £1,250-£1,320 / MT. Injection grades were more widely available and volume offers were available at a discount with £,150 / MT reported in some areas but £1,190-£1,250 / MT seen as more indicative. Film HD was somewhere in between the two with demand a little softer. £1,200-£1,280 / MT.



PP continued to see further price reductions as demand was some way behind available supply. As with the previous few months, Homopolymer continued to be under considerable pressure and was available under £1,100 / MT for volume deals. £1,150-£1,250 / MT was widely seen in the market.

Copolymer, whilst still under pressure is maintaining better pricing but the higher prices sought in June / July have gone with producers needing to move volume. £1,250-£1,350 / MT was seen as more indicative this month whereas July still saw £1,500 / MT at the upper end.

PP pricing is probably of most concern to producers and the grades most likely to see lower run rates as an attempt to balance supply and demand.

Other Polyolefins

EVA still has some restrictions in availability due to some Force Majeures in place and limited supply of VAM. Price fell broadly in line with monomer by approx. €70 / MT. Supply is improving and pricing may be corrected more in line with the rest of the PE market in the coming months.

Speciality POP is still restricted but also saw some slight softening on pricing in line with monomers.


Andrew Waterfield
Product Supervisor – Styrenics

Styrenics Feedstocks
£/Metric Tonne by month



July SM contract price peaked at €155/T higher than June, an all-time high of €2340/T. These increases were driven by spiralling energy costs and a hike in Benzene. PS producers passed this increase on or opted for a rollover and increased sales volumes. 

Supply remained tight as producers attempt to avoid overproduction, while converters were forced to choose between security of supply and record pricing, throttling demand.

SM crashed down by €509/T in August. Generally this is being passed on in full for PS and will add a short term stimulus to demand, as convertors take the chance to restock with a saving.  Despite the reduction. PS prices are still high compared to historical levels and economic worries will hold back demand in the longer term. This reduction in demand will drive producers to attempt to match output to requirements.



July Monomers showed a slight increase (SM +€155/T, Butadiene Roll, ACN -€279/T) but rising volumes of imports from Asia held ABS prices down. Supply was low as EU producers cut production as demand fell, due to recession fears and the holiday season.

August brings a sharp decrease due to the SM drop. Other monomers changed very little. Supply is normal with no major outages, but demand is restrained for the same reasons as PS.



As usual, PC/ABS price is following the trend of ABS.

Other Styrenics

SAN and specialities such as ASA and SMMA continue to follow the price trend of ABS.

Engineering Polymers

Sharron Jarvis
Product Supervisor – Engineering Polymers

Engineering Polymer Feedstocks
£/Metric Tonne by month



There was a wide spread of pricing in July from plus 250 euros to decreases of 200 euros per metric tonne. There has been a decrease in the cost of base materials so it will be difficult to push through any further increases in August due to the seasonal low demand. Energy costs and transportation costs are still rising which could lead to further increases after the summer months.



A mixed picture in the market with regards to pricing with some producers offering large decreases, whilst others announced plus 300 euros in July. It is expected that no further announcements are made in August with quieter demand due to the seasonal shutdowns and holidays.

Supply from Europe remains limited; however, we are starting to see some imports into the UK.



The picture for POM in the short to medium term remains unchanged, however prices are stabilising, and supply may ease a little on the back of lower demand.



After significant increases in Benzene contracts last month, there has now been a huge decrease of 663 euros per metric tonne for August which will impact PC pricing.

There is sufficient material in the supply chain, and with weak demand prices are expected to come down.



Supply of MMA is still restricted however no further increases are likely to be pushed through during the quieter summer months.



The feedstock supply situation is generally improving and the weak demand because of the holiday season will exert pressure on prices. The settling down of PX production is having a positive effect on PTA feedstock. This should also slightly improve the availability in the market.

Other Engineering Polymers

The situation for other engineering grades remains complex, difficult to predict and depends very much on the material type, but shortages and cost increases are still the norm for every polymer type.

Contact Mike Boswell

Managing Director – Plastribution Group

Contact Ian Chisnall

Product Manager – Polyolefins

Contact Andrew Waterfield

Product Supervisor – Styrenics

Contact Sharron Jarvis

Product Supervisor – Engineering Polymers

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