Polyethylene producers are trying to implement their 4-cent per pound increase that was rolled over in April, but processors again think otherwise—they are instead looking for some relief from the 9-cent hike endured in the 1st quarter. As for the past two or three months, we have had stable pricing, albeit at 9 cents higher than it was at the beginning of the year.
Domestic polyethylene demand was light in April—at 2.42 billion pounds, it was almost 140 million pounds below the trailing 12-month average. Polyethylene exports ran at 600 million pounds, about 5 percent less than the 12 month average. May contracts for polyethylene and polypropylene are still up in the air, but should see only minor movement.
Polyethylene is a globally traded commodity and so global economic activity, in my opinion, is a prime motivator for where pricing trends go. We will have to wait and see what the supply and demand brings. As always, I will update you again when I know more about which path pricing will take.