Welcome to this first edition of this Packaging Price Know-how report. It is our intention to publish this report on a monthly basis and provide you with valuable insights into some of the economic factors affecting plastic film prices.

Through our activity in polymer raw materials, we can provide information on key aspects of pricing including:

It should be noted that the pass through of price inflation/deflation at each step of film manufacturing process can be affected by supply demand/balance, which in extreme cases can see film prices falling despite polymer price increases, or even film prices increasing when polymer prices are falling.

General Market Situation

The attempts by polymer producers to push volume polymer prices forward in the second half of 2023 appear to have been thwarted. Not only did polymer converters consume existing inventories in order to resist buying higher price material, but both upstream and downstream demand was fundamentally weak.

The upstream weakness is reflected in the across the board fall in contract monomer prices, which sharply contrasts with relatively stable crude oil prices and again the discount for spot over contract monomer costs are significant and the principle cause of contract price reductions. Weakness in downstream markets is evidenced by the UK and European markets suggesting that there is a significant risk of recession in 2024.

Most players remain confused by the lack of demand from converters with questions about substitution, supply chain destocking, fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour, and increased polymer production remaining unanswered.

Monomer Price Movement
Change (Contract)
C2 (Ethylene)
C3 (Propylene)
SM (Styrene Monomer)
Brent Crude (monthly average)
Exchange Rate

Mike Boswell
Managing Director – Plastribution Group

Oil Prices

No Data Found

Exchange Rates

No Data Found

UK Economic Data







Real GDP (Q on Q)

Q2 2023



UK Manufacturing PMI



UK Output

Manufacturing Index

Q3 2023



New Car Registrations (Y on Y)

October 23



Retail Sales (Y on Y)

October 23



Unemployment Rate

May – July 2023



CPI (Y on Y)




RPI (Y on Y)



Interest Rates

Bank of England Base Rate



Volume Polymer

All polymer PP and PE have seen some reductions in monomer costs for November and this has been on the back of falls during October also. We saw reductions of €45/tn for Ethylene and €40/tn for Propylene which in turn pushed our BOPP suppliers to also reduce their prices, albeit by smaller amounts. From the beginning of the month to the middle of November, we have seen further reductions in monomer costs, so leading us to believe there is a potential expectation of at least a rollover for December or possibly even a further softening.

Coupled with a reduced overall demand as we move towards the end of the year, the message seems to be unless there is a boost in demand pricing will remain very competitive going into the New Year .

Mark Goodwin

Product Development Manager – Plasfilms



Demand for PET resin continues to be fundamental weak, with demand from important sectors including textiles and soft drinks subdued.

The EU authorities are considering the imposition of anti-dumping duties on some Asian origin PET, which if applied could result in both price increases and improved economics for European PET resin producers. Low PET resin continues to be reflected in PET film pricing.



Decreases in the contract price of C3 (propylene) monomer have passed through into polypropylene pricing, the market for which remains fundamentally weak.

The producers of CPP and OPP have resisted passing through the full decrease in order to improve margins. With an expectation of a rollover, or further small decrease in C3 contract pricing for December, film prices will remain under downward pressue.

Polyolefins Feedstocks
£/Metric Tonne by month

No Data Found

Sustainable Films

Strong interest continues for films with enhanced environmental credentials. rPET continues to be popular as supply of high-quality material, suitable for film production continues to be available, with rPET material typically selling at a premium over the prime virgin alternative.

Unlike PET, PP is much more difficult to recycle into film applications; this is due to the different chemistry involved in the synthesis of polypropylene. The nascent technology of Advanced (Chemical) recycling could provide a future solution, albeit this would require a change to the Plastics Packaging Tax in order to allow a mass balance approach to be taken in the use of recycled feedstock to produce prime virgin PP.

Mark Goodwin

Product Development Manager – Plasfilms


For further inquiries or additional information, please feel free to explore our Insights page for guidance and advice on key issues concerning the packaging industry.

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A trusted, go-to resource for over a decade, Packaging Price Know-how is produced by the experts at leading distributor, Plastribution with data from Plastics Information Europe.

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Contact Mike Boswell

Managing Director – Plastribution Group