Market update for prime, recycled, and scrap plastics as of November 26, 2022.

Prime virgin prices are from China’s major virgin polymer websites in Renminbi RMB. The exchange rate is 1 US dollar= Chinese Yen at 7.1650.



The New York oil prices further dropped and closed at $ 76.28 on Friday, a day after thanksgiving thin market liquidity in the US. This is the third consecutive weekly decline due to China’s new daily record of Covid-19 infections and the G 7’s intention to cap Russian oil prices between $65-70 per barrel.

China’s prime prices continue to edge down, resulting from devastating pandemic lockdowns across China, including Beijing. Many factories are shut down because of weak domestic demands and export orders. Downstream manufacturers stay on the sideline until the pandemic lockdown is over and the reversal of Covid policy. Overall market sentiments remain bearish as traders expect long-term GDP growth will slow down significantly. Europe is in recession, and demands from Asia are slow. There are shipments of prime ABS, PS, PP, LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE from Saudi Arabia, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, offered to China at discount prices. Examples are LLDPE, PP, AND HDPE at around US $900 per ton CNF China main ports, and Styrenic materials are cheaper than what prices posted on the above chart. Some petrochemical companies have reduced their output capacities to maintain the price levels; some offer their overcapacities to Asia markets. With the Chinese New Year approaching and the blurry outlook, most market participants expect the demand will not pick up until next May.

Recycled materials are following the declined prime price movements. Both PCR and recycled materials are dropping in price and demand. With increasing offers from Europe, the US, and Japan for both Off grades and recycled pellets, South East Asian recyclers have difficulties selling their recycled materials at their targeted prices. Most recyclers cannot operate at a profit and maintain their capacities. For PP, LLDPE, and HDPE, with prime prices at $ 900 levels, recyclers can only pay their feedstocks of natural regrinds or films below $ 500 per ton Cnf Asian ports. Exporting countries are not able to match prices offered by Asian countries. Natural PET recycled pellets in China sell at US $400-500 per ton as prime prices are at $ 850-900 per ton. Some engineering plastic prices are at the pre-pandemic levels, especially those with production in China, like PMMA, POM, POLYCARBONATE, and Nylon. Recycled materials cannot sell due to competitive prices from prime materials. The situation looks very pessimistic, and recyclers can hardly maintain their operations.

Scrap plastic prices have dropped following the downtrend of recycled pellets. The continued decline of demand impacts both the US and Europe markets. Some suppliers hold on to their materials; some sell for liquidities and spaces. There are more offers of PP big bags, PE natural and color films, agricultural plastic scraps, PET of different types, PMMA, PC, and nylons. Most offers are not workable after costs of freight and trucking are added. Recyclers in Asia are under pressure both from buying and selling; more cases of bankruptcy and shutting down of their facilities are seen, especially end of the lunar year.

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