Rollovers dominated the European PP markets in August. In many regions, trading was slack, although demand was lively in north-western Europe. Where imports were scarce, producers were able to pull some of the lowest prices up to a level they considered acceptable. The hikes seen for compounds also reflected structural price increases at a major producer.

September threatened to be stormy, with triple-digit price rises potentially on the horizon. One of the determining factors was the propylene reference contract, which was fixed €40/t ($48) higher, but it goes without saying that the devastating hurricane on the US Gulf will also have had an important knock-on effect.

PIE’s Polyglobe database (www.polyglobe.net) shows that nearly 60 per cent of the entire North American propylene and PP capacities were idle at the time of going to press. As the outage may well last for several more weeks, especially in the greater Houston area, European producers will be enticed to export more, thus shrinking supply at home.