European recycled standard thermoplastics prices declined further in June and the downward price pressure has continued into July. Recycled plastics prices are under severe pressure because of persistent weak demand caused by the economic stagnation throughout Europe and competition from the falling cost of off-spec virgin plastics and cheaper imported recyclate.
At the same time, weak demand has led to a surplus supply situation, despite many recyclers curbing output to limit a build-up of inventories.
The market position for R-PET is particularly perilous. As the cost of virgin PET has fallen by €700/tonne since July 2022 converters have increasingly been switching to using a larger volume of standard material, despite a similar reduction in R-PET prices over the same period. A price war has subsequently developed between R-PET and virgin PET which makes it very difficult to operate the recycling plants economically.
In June, R-PET clear flake prices crashed €150/tonne, clear food-grade pellet prices fell by €100/tonne and coloured flake prices were €50/tonne down on the previous month.
Other recycled plastics classes also continue to suffer from declining prices due to very weak demand, competition from virgin material and lengthening supply.
In June, R-HDPE blow moulding prices declined €50/tonne while injection moulding grades fell by €30/tonne. R-LDPE natural film prices fell €60/tonne with R-LDPE translucent film prices down by €40/tonne. R-PP homopolymer and copolymer prices declined €70/tonne in June with R-HIPS prices €20/tonne lower than in the previous month.
Recycled plastics prices remain under downward pressure during the first two weeks of July. Market fundamentals are unlikely to change significantly this month, although the beginning of the summer holiday season is likely to depress demand even further.