In September, European PE producers often managed to push through larger increases than would have been indicated by the rise in the ethylene reference price. In the first week, Hurricane Harvey blew the US markets around so that some production volumes from the globally-operating groups – especially in the plastics films segment – were sucked in and swallowed up by the maelstrom there. After all, delivery commitments to global players had to be met.
Producers responded quickly, but insisted on higher price increases. The situation was compounded by delivery delays due to the closure of the Rhine Valley railway line in southern Germany. Apart from a few areas in injection moulding and blow moulding, the net outcome was a margin increase for many producers.
In October, the trends of the previous months will probably have continued, at least in the first two weeks. In many cases, the price rises are again expected to be above the renewed cost increase resulting from the ethylene reference.