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Demand remains low and conditions are broadly unchanged, although the market has been slightly better since the start of February. Recyclers’ warehouses are full, both in terms of incoming plastic waste and outbound recyclates. Incoming volumes have been lower owing to reduced consumption, creating slightly higher demand for regrind. Prices have also headed slightly higher due to the fact of prime grades seeing increases in recent weeks.

Plastics processors are still experiencing low demand owing to reduced consumption. Higher interest rates are not benefitting this consumption, and neither are increased electricity costs owing to low winter temperatures. There are also reports of longer holiday breaks around Christmas and afterwards, with more downtime in response to the conditions facing recyclers.

Most recyclers believe reduced demand and low prices will continue for at least the first quarter of 2024 owing to high stock levels.  

Increases in container shipping rates owing to the Red Sea crisis have impacted the demand and prices, which have been moving up slightly in Northern Europe because of longer transit times.

Some commodities are moving at decent prices, especially the good grades for which demand is apparent. However, reported prices on various markets may be very different to the actual prices achieved; for instance, reports suggest more stable PS and PE/PP prices than for other grades like ABS.

High stocks of outbound materials are keeping recyclers’ prices stable and the full effects will not be seen until inventories are lower.