While there was very strong demand and increasing prices for plastic grades, it wasn’t the same picture for other materials.
Paper grades seem to have topped out for this week at least, while some metals fell back after last week’s big jumps.
In the PRN/PERN market, the latest monthly data suggests that volumes of PRN/PERN trading in the first two months are significantly down for most materials. It is still early in the year, and it could be people are waiting for evidence of what the rest of the year will bring, but Q1 is looking like it will be poor for most materials.
The pound was trading at $1.30 this week from $1.33 a week ago. But against the euro it fell back down to €1.19 after peaking at €1.21 this week.
Packaging grades continued to jump up in value on the back of very strong demand.
Fears over rising oil prices and the impact this will have on virgin plastics, plus the upcoming Plastic Packaging Tax from 1 April in the UK, meant that companies are trying to get hold of recycled polymers.
In particular, HDPE seems in particular demand with the price going up by £40 per tonne. However, prices above this were also being quoted for those who most wanted to get hold of it.
LDPE film increased by £20 per tonne with European buyers still piling in wanting to get hold of these grades.
PET wasn’t quite as strong, but still saw prices increase by £10 per tonne.
The market seems to have topped off for this week at least. In all truth, trading volumes were small as most are dealing with logistics until they are ready to trade for April.
Some are of the view that prices will continue to rise, but there are others who feel we have reached a peak for the time being. The former see inflation roaring and expect paper and cardboard grades to follow the increases seen in other commodities. But the latter believe that some mills are finding prices too high, they can’t keep passing on higher prices to end product customers, and some mills in Europe and South East Asia are taking downtime rather than produce with high input costs.
One factor that may keep prices higher is India. Mills there are still suffering from the accidental European export ban, and are trying to sweep up what they can from US and Europe, where arisings are also small. Indeed, some Indian mills are now working on two to three day weeks because they haven’t got enough fibre to keep mills at full production.
This is despite a 2.5% duty on recovered fibre imports into India kicking in.
Panic buying of metal last week subsided this week, with some grades recording falls. Copper dropped by £150 per tonne for example. But steel grades, including cans, increased by £20 per tonne.
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