In December, European standard recyclate prices fell across the board as a result of very low pre-holiday demand.
Recycled PET saw the steepest falls with price reductions of €150 per metric ton for clear flake and reductions of €100 per tonne for colored flake and for clear food grade pellets.
Recycled high density polyethylene blow molding colored grade prices fell by €50 per tonne while recycled HDPE black injection molding prices fell slightly. Recycled low density natural film prices fell by €50 per tonne with translucent film pellet prices down by €30 per tonne. Recycled polypropylene prices declined by just €10 per tonne and recycled high impact polystyrene prices were €50 per tonne lower in December.
Recyclate prices have continued their downward trajectory primarily as a result of very low demand. Converters are buying less material as a result of the economic downturn and growing competition from declining primary material prices.
The demand position was further weakened last month by converters destocking ahead of the end-year balance sheet accounting practices. Converters were therefore buying just sufficient recyclate to cover their immediate production needs.
Material availability was generally quite low yet there was more than enough material to meet the low level of demand.
Few price agreements had been struck at the time this research was conducted during the first week of the month. Standard recyclate prices remain under pressure at the start of the new year. Recycled PET, PP and PS prices are expected to fall further throughout the month of January. Recycled HDPE and LDPE prices are more likely to remain either stable or to fall slightly.
Demand is expected to pick up only slowly over the course of the month as processors return to work after the holidays and begin to replenish stocks. Some recyclers have undertaken plant maintenance programs during the festive season while others are considering leaving their plants closed for an extended period given the weak level of demand.