Report for China & South East Asia
The following table shows recent prime prices taken from China’s major virgin polymer websites, quoted in Renminbi (RMB) which has an exchange rate of 7.1159 to the US dollar at the time of writing:
Crude oil prices retreated from their recent highs and closed at US$ 79.49 per barrel in New York on September 30. Prices of ABS, PS, PP, PE and PVC have moved within a range of US$ 50 per ton over the last few weeks, following in the footsteps of oil prices and feedstock costs. Polycarbonate has increased by more than US$ 300 per ton on the back of a Bisphenol-A price hike whereas, in contrast, POM has recorded the sharpest decline among all the plastics.
While China continues to enforce its zero-COVID policy, manufacturers are unable to resume average production levels as customers have diverted their orders to other South East Asian countries.
Prices of PP and PE waste plastics have fallen by US$ 50-100 per ton. In the largest consuming market of China, the yuan’s 15%-plus depreciation in recent months has caused prices to drop by more than US$ 100 from their initial US$ 700 per ton. As with other high-value materials, most recyclers take an extra margin to protect themselves against currency devaluation.
Demand for recycled materials is slow both in China and other Asian countries, partly because of the strong US dollar and because downstream manufacturers are reluctant to purchase in anticipation of possible further slides in prime material prices. PE natural recycled pellets are selling at US$ 870 per ton and PP black recycled pellets at US$ 600, reflecting the buying prices of natural PE films and mixed colour PP big bags of, respectively, US$ 480 and US$ 250 per ton.
Most market players now prefer to wait for the 20th Communist Party Congress starting in mid-October before committing themselves to essential deals. Geopolitical and pandemic-related complications have added to their sense of caution.