World economic difficulties impact on price of plastics


Plastics prices have been affected by the world economic difficulties, but paper is bucking the trend by seeing a price rise.

Mixed bottles scrap-ex grade A are down on the scrap-ex weekly price report to £275 to £320 a tonne, from £280 to £345 a week ago. The spread of natural PET has tightened to £435 to £460 from £430 to £475 last week. HDPE milk bottles have dropped £5 at the top end to £390 to £425 from £390 to £430 a week ago. LDPE 98/2 is also down to £255 to £295 from last week’s £260 to £290.


With the eurozone and US debt crises still fresh in the mind of plastic traders, there are concerns about the demand for plastics as well as a lowering in the price of virgin material as the oil price has fallen recently.

scrap-ex director Gareth Goodall said: “We are hearing from our plastics buyers that companies in the end markets in China are reluctant to show a price. They are looking for the seller to offer them a price rather than say a fixed price. This seems to be as a result of nervousness in the market about demand and the falling price of commodities such as oil.”

Metals have been volatile on the LME recently, but this hasn’t hit the scrap market quite as much as yet. However, secondary metal traders are understood to be nervous about the market and playing a game of wait and see before adjusting prices.

The spread for copper dry bright wire actually widened to £4,900 to £5,435 per tonne this week, from £4,900 to £5,400 last week. With copper down as low as £5,838 on the LME yesterday, this does not leave much room for profit margin at the upper end. But then again, copper has also broken the £6,000 level a number of times over the past few weeks.

Aluminium cans also saw a wider spread trading in the range of £950 to £1,250 from £960 to £1,125. Again this reflects no-one really knowing where the LME is going at the moment.

Brass cuttings were down to £3,100 to £3,575 from last week’s £3,250 to £3,650.

Paper actually saw price rises as the holiday season has led to less material being available forcing prices to rise a little.

OCC was up to £128 to £138 per tonne this week, a small increase on last week’s £125 to £135. News and pams jumped up by more than £10 per tonne to £135 to £155 from £125 to £140. However, the spread on mixed papers tightened to £115 to £122 from £115 to £126 a week ago.