Prices in the polymer market look somewhat rangebound. Much that sellers would like to increase prices to cover increased feedstock costs, and the expense of shipping goods around the Cape of Good Hope, in order to avoid the terrorist issues affecting the Red Sea route, buyers appear to be able to secure materials at favourable prices. Perhaps, what is noticeable is that many of the low-price bargains have disappeared from the market and this has caused the Polyolefin and Styrenics baskets to tick up slightly.

A potential exception in this situation is PP, where the combination of restricted feedstock, and limited availability of the more specialised grade slate, which tends to be more oriented to European polymer production, may give sellers strong enough supply/demand fundamentals to push through further increases. The tighter supply of PP may be  situation that the market may have to adjust to, as the increased penetration of US origin PE, will dampen demand for EU produced ethylene from expensive Naphtha, from which C3 is a co-product for PP production.

There is some suggestion that packaging markets are starting to improve, as destocking throughout the whole supply chain finally starts to ease.

Crude oil prices look set to increase further with some players forecasting that Brent Crude could soon hit $95 per barrel, on the back of supply concerns. Clearly further crude oil cost increases are likely to be reflected in feedstock costs, which in turn will place inflationary pressure on polymer producers.

Monomer Price Movement
Price per Tonne
Change (contract)
C2 (Ethylene)
C3 (Propylene)
SM (Styrene Monomer)
Brent Crude (monthly average)
Exchange Rates

Mike Boswell
Managing Director – Plastribution Group

Oil Prices

No Data Found

Exchange Rates

No Data Found

UK Economic Data







Real GDP (Q on Q)

Q4 2023



UK Manufacturing PMI



UK Output

Manufacturing Index

Q4 2023



New Car Registrations (Y on Y)

March 2024



Retail Sales (Y on Y)

February 24



Unemployment Rate

Nov 23 – Jan 24



CPI (Y on Y)




RPI (Y on Y)



Interest Rates

Bank of England Base Rate



Volume Polymer

During the last few months, we have seen a variation in the level of increases for PP and PE polymers, following monomer increases during that period. However, most supplier gains were considerably higher for the same period as price rises reflected the current market conditions with some concerns over limited BOPP polymer supplies from Asia and the middle East, longer import lead times and Turkish competition following limited South African production. 

Mark Goodwin

Product Development Manager – Plasfilms


PET has remained fairly static on pricing for Q1 and early into Q2, but evidence suggests the market should start to pick up again for later in Q2. Suppliers are citing increased feedstock / supply costs towards the end of Q1 and indicating rises on the back of increased oil costs approaching the $90+/barrel level, but with demand still remaining weak there is still flexibility on volume deals to be completed.


Increases in the contract C3 monomer pricing have been passed through the supply chain. And OPP/CPP film suppliers have increased their prices accordingly.

We saw a shift change of purchasing over from the New Year when customers switched material purchases from the Far East to Europe due to the Red Sea shipping issues and the extended lead times. This worked well for a short period of time, however European suppliers started to increase their prices due to raw material costs and an increased demand for orders, raising European lead times considerably.

From the middle of Q1 customers reverted to ordering from the Far East again as lead times were reduced back down to a normal 8-to-9-week turnaround. Prices also remained competitive as the Far East suppliers looked to claw back some of their lost volume.   

Polyolefins Feedstocks
£/Metric Tonne by month

No Data Found

Sustainable Films

Enquiries and demand continues for more sustainable materials. rPET continues this push as customers look at ways to reduce the packaging tax and whilst rPET is still at a higher level, the price difference between that and Virgin PET has started to narrow further.

OPP remains a much more difficult material for recycling (using PCR – post consumer recycle) as the PCR volumes available in the market are extremely small, especially for clear products. Coupled with the chemistry behind PP it is more challenging to offer an approved / acceptable material for recycled OPP applications.  

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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