Prices of most commodity resins were flat or slipping downhill in February and March.

Prices of most commodity resins were flat or slipping downhill in February and March. Polypropylene posted what may be only a temporary gain. Only PET prices appear firm and trending upward.

 

PE prices down

Polyethylene resin tabs dropped 2¢/lb in early March, which brought the total slump in prices since December to 14¢/lb. There was also talk of another 2¢ drop in March, which would cut in half the price inflation in the second half of 2005. Still, suppliers have not rescinded their December 5¢ increases, but only delayed them again, to April 1.

Meanwhile, international prices at the London Metal Exchange were falling last month. LME’s April short-term futures contract for blown film butene LLDPE was at 51¢/lb, down from 58.5¢ for March and 55.6¢/lb for February.

Contributing factors: With falling energy and feedstock prices, PE resin tabs could soon drop another 4¢ to 6¢/lb, lopping a total of 20¢ to 22¢ off last year’s hikes. Says Bill Bowie, COO of purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTi) in Fort Worth, Texas, “We have seen lower resin orders from PE film processors. One reason is the large volume of imported film and bags. Processors are buying only what they need in the expectation that prices will go down.”

Adds a major PE supplier, “Our margins are still good because of lower feedstock costs. Ethylene contract prices have dropped to 50¢/lb from the 56.5¢ in November-December. Demand is fairly good, and we hope for 5% to 6% growth over last year. With no new capacity coming on stream, there is no likelihood of an oversupplied market.”

 

PP prices up—for now

Polypropylene resin tabs rose 4¢ to 6¢/lb from February to March, reflecting partial implementation of 12¢ to 16¢/lb hikes slated for those two months. LME’s April short-term futures contract for g-p injection grade dropped to 45.6¢/lb from 54.9¢ for March and 52.2¢ for February.

Contributing factors: Some industry sources think recent increases could be short-lived. Says RTi’s Bowie, “Spot prices at some accounts have fallen about 4¢/lb. Within the next 30 days, resin producers are likely to lose the average 4.5¢/lb they gained last quarter. Demand has slowed and deals are being made on the spot market to move material quickly.”

Propylene monomer contract prices rose 4.5¢/lb in February, but are expected to hold even now because crude oil prices have dropped.

 

PET prices increase

Bottle-grade PET prices moved up 3¢/lb in February, in partial implementation of 5¢ hikes early in the first quarter. Most suppliers also came out with a 4¢/lb increase for March 1, and some sources expect prices to move up 2¢ more.

Contributing factors: “Prices of raw materials like paraxylene and ethylene glycol rose over 5¢/lb in January and February. While those prices slipped back some in March, margins remained unfavorable for resin suppliers,” says one industry analyst.

Suppliers say resin demand is pretty good. According to one, “Domestic demand is likely to be up 6% to 7% over last year, although we lost about 3% of that to Asian imports.”

Of more concern to suppliers is looming resin oversupply with over 1.1 billion lb of new capacity coming on stream by early 2007. It will start with 200 million lb from Wellman in June. Prices are apt to start dropping by the end of June and suppliers foresee eight to 12 months of excess supply.

 

PVC remains soft

PVC resin prices dropped 1.5¢/lb in February and were expected to lose another 1.5¢ to 2¢ in March. Suppliers delayed their 2¢/lb hike from January to April 1, but they are hoping the mere threat of an increase will halt the price slide.

Contributing factors: The usual spring pick-up in demand hasn’t kicked in yet. Pipe producers’ inventories are up. Window orders are mixed, and siding orders are soft for this time of year. Ethylene feedstock costs are falling.

 

PS hike deferred

Polystyrene contract prices held even in March. Tabs for plentiful offspec resin dropped 3¢/lb or more. Producers’ 6¢ hike for Feb. 1 was trimmed to 5¢ and delayed to April 1. It is probably dead, some suppliers concede.

Contributing factors: January’s PS demand was 14% ahead of December’s, but demand in February and March was only so-so. High prices have hurt—some cup makers switched to paper, and lids moved to PET.

Contract prices for benzene feedstock dropped from $2.86/gal in February to $2.73 in March, and futures were as low as $2.60 for May. 

 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Mar A
 
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 

 ABS 

  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   80 - 90     3.0 - 3.4    
 HI IMPACT   85 - 125     3.2 - 4.7    
 X-HI IMPACT   95 - 140     3.6 - 5.3    
 HI HEAT   85 - 110     3.8    
 PIPE   85 - 110     3.2 - 4.1    
 SHEET   90 - 110     3.4 - 4.2    
 TRANSPARENT   125 - 165     4.9 - 6.4    
 FITTINGS   85 - 115     3.2 - 4.3    
 PLATING   95 - 105     3.5 - 3.9    
 FLAME RET   120 - 140     4.6 - 5.9    
 STRUCT FM   83 - 97     3.6 - 4.3    
 10% GLASS   125 - 140     5.0 - 5.6    
 30% GLASS   116 - 136     5.3 - 6.3    
 ABS/PC ALLOY   145 - 180     5.5 - 6.8    
 ABS/PVC ALLOY   130 - 135     5.8 - 6.1    
 ABS/NYLON ALLOY   190     7.3    


 ACETAL 

  

  
 
 HOMOPOL   130 - 147     6.7 - 7.3    
 20% GLASS   160 - 220     9.0 - 12.4    
 COPOLYMER   133 - 145     6.8 - 7.4    
 25% GLASS   160 - 230     8.1 - 11.7    


 ACRYLIC 

  

  
 
 G-P   117     5.0    
 IMPACT   192     8.2    


 ACRYLONITRILE COPOL 

  

  
 
 EXTRUSION   101 - 116     4.0 - 4.6    
 INJECTION   120 - 135     4.8 - 5.4    


 ALKYD 

65 - 74   

4.9 - 5.5   
 


 CELLULOSICS 

  

  
 
 ACETATE   187     8.6    
 CAB   189     8.2    
 CAP   189     8.2    


 DAP (G-P) 

251 - 497   

16.7 - 34.7   
 


 EPOXY 

  

  
 
 G-P RESIN   116 - 126     NAd    
 COMPOUNDS          
 C/B/Te   123 - 166     9.4 - 12.9    
 R/C/Df   208 - 271     15.3 - 20.1    
 SEMICONDUCTOR          
 NOVOLAC   193 - 228     13.1 - 15.9    
 ANHYDRIDE   188 - 268     13.9 - 19.2    


 EVA 

  

  
 
 INJECTION   46 - 52     1.5 - 1.7    
 FILM EXTRU   42 - 49     1.4 - 1.6    


 EVOH 

265   

11.3   
 


 FLUORO-POLYMER 

  

  
 
 CTFE   2500 - 5500    193 - 424    
 ECTFE   1470 - 1680    93.1 - 107.7   
 ETFE   1155 - 1680    70.7 - 102.8   
 FEP   971 - 1470     74.8 - 113.2   
 PFA   1785 - 2520    134.9 - 190.5    
 PTFE   450 - 900     34.8 - 69.7    
 PVDF   680 - 900     43.3 - 57.3    


 IONOMER 

  

  
 
 PACKAGING   127 - 166     4.3 - 6.0    
 INDUSTRIAL   150 - 244     5.0 - 8.3    


 LIQUID-CRYSTAL POLYMERS 

  

  
 
 INJECTION MIN FILLED   690 - 1035     44.2 - 72.1    
 GLASS FILLED   695 - 895     40 - 52    
 CARBON FILLED   1700 - 2000    83.2 - 138.6   
 UNFILLED   1000 - 1200    58 - 70    
 EXTRUSION UNFILLED   1200 - 2200    60.5 - 110.9   


 MELAMINE COMPOUND 

90 - 94   

5.5 - 5.6   
 


 MELAMINE/PHENOLIC COMPOUND 

75 - 83   

4.5 - 5.0   
 


 NYLON 

  

  
 
 TYPE 6   139 - 159     5.7 - 6.5    
 MIN FILLED   131 - 144     5.4 - 5.9    
 30% GLASS   148 - 173     6.0 - 7.0    
 TYPE 66   153 - 168     6.3 - 6.9    
 MIN FILLED   151 - 159     6.2 - 6.5    
 30% GLASS   142 - 192     5.8 - 7.9    
 TYPE 69   250 - 276     9.7 - 10.7    
 TYPE 6/10   286 - 313     12.4 - 13.6    
 TYPE 612   400     15.3    
 30% GLASS   309 - 311     14.7    
 40% GLASS   309     14.7    
 TYPE 46   295     12.6    
 TYPE 11   329 - 341     13.6 - 14.1    
 30% GLASS   331 - 350     15.0 - 15.8    
 40% GLASS   347 - 360     17.7 - 18.5    
 TYPE 12   318 - 341     12.1 - 13.0    
 30% GLASS   327 - 350     14.7 - 15.8    
 50% GLASS   299 - 340     15.6 - 17.8    
 TRANSPARENT AMORPHOUS   247 - 360     10.3 - 15.0    


 PHENOLIC MOLD COMP 

75   

3.8   
 
 REINFORCED GRADES   105 - 268     6.1 - 16    


 POLYAMIDE-IMIDEg 

  

  
 
 UNFILLED   2750     148.5    
 30% GLASS   2500     135    
 30% CARBON FIB.   3500     185    


 POLYARYLATE 

200 - 280   

8.8 - 12.3   
 


 POLYARYL SULFONE 

440   

21.8   
 


 POLYBUTYLENE 

  

  
 
 G-P   94 - 96     3.1    
 FILM   88 - 91     2.9    
 PIPE          
 COLD WATER   116 - 120     3.9 - 4.0    
 HOT WATER   162 - 166     5.5 - 5.6    


 POLYCARBONATE 

  

  
 
 INJECTION   138 - 165     5.9 - 7.0    
 20% GLASS   177 - 190     7.6 - 8.2    
 30% GLASS   178 - 217     7.6 - 9.3    
 EXTRUSION   145 - 180     6.3 - 7.8    
 BLOW MOLD   155 - 190     6.7 - 8.2    
 STRUCT FOAM   149 - 181     6.4 - 7.8    
 20% GLASS   235 - 255     10.1 - 11.0    
 FR   166 - 197     7.1 - 8.5    
 CD   140 - 200     6.0 - 8.6    


 POLYESTER (TP) PBT TYPE 

  

  
 
 UNFILLED   143 - 150     6.9    
 HI-IMP   154 - 165     7.6    
 30% GLASS, FR   185 - 207     11.9    
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165     NAd    


 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   82 - 87 Prices Went Up  
  4.1 - 4.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 MOD PET          
 30% GLASS   132 - 143     7.4    
 55% GLASS   148 - 155     9.8    
 30% GLASS FLAME RET   147 - 157     9.2    
 PETG COPOL   114 - 124     5.2 - 5.6    
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 


 POLYESTER THERMOSET 

  

  
 
 G-P ORTHO   135 - 140     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   160 - 170     NAd    
 BIS-A   205 - 210     NAd    


 PEEK 

4400   

231   
 
 30% GLASS   3300     173    


 POLYETHERIMIDE 

641 - 646   

29.3 - 29.5   
 
 30% GLASS   526 - 531     24.0 - 24.2    


 POLYETHERKETONE (PEK) 

2950   

130.1   
 
 30% GLASS   2600     153    


 POLYETHERSULFONE 

350 - 400   

17.2 - 19.7   
 
 30% GLASS   425 - 525     21 - 25.9    


 POLYETHYLENE (RAILCAR) LDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING & EXTRU   84 - 86 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   89 - 91 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER   85 - 87 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 CLARITY   83 - 85 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRU COATG   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   89 - 91 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   73 - 75 Prices Went Down 
  2.4 - 2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   51 Prices Went Down 
  1.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   75 - 77 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 ROTOMOLD   77 - 79 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   88 - 90 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER FILM   90 - 92 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 Prices Went Down 
 


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   74 - 76 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   84 - 86 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   78 - 80 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   83 - 85 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   85 - 87 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 PIPE   90 - 92 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 


 UHMW-PE 

100 - 125   

3.6 - 3.7   
 


 PPE/PPO BASED RESIN 

  

  
 
 INJECTION   180     6.8    
 20% GLASSh   283     12.3    
 30% GLASSh   291     13.3    
 EXTRUSIONh   242     9.2    
 STRUCT FM   231     NAd    


 PPS 

  

  
 
 40% GLASS   357 - 404     21.2 - 24.0    
 55% GLASS/MINERAL   289 - 310     20.8 - 22.3    
 65% GLASS/MINERAL   226 - 273     15.5 - 18.7    


 POLYPROPYLENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL INJECTION   80 - 82 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   45.6 Prices Went Down 
  1.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   79 - 81 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   84 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   85 - 87 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   84 - 86 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   93 - 95 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   96 - 98 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   68 - 76     2.5 - 2.8    
 HI HEAT   71 - 79     2.7 - 3.0    
 HIPS   69 - 77     2.6 - 2.8    
 SUPER HI IMP   79 - 85     3.0 - 3.2    
 FR   87 - 95     3.3 - 3.5    
 STRUCT FM (FR)   105 - 108        


 EPS 

  

  
 
 UNMODIFIED   85 - 88     NAd    
 MODIFIED   86 - 90     NAd    


 POLYSULFONE 

605   

27 - 27.3   
 
 10% GLASS 430 20.6   557 - 612     24.9 - 25    
 30% GLASS 372 20.01   557 - 562     24.9 - 25    


 POLYURETHANE (TP) 

  

  
 
 ESTER TYPE   185 - 255     8 - 11    
 ETHER TYPE   245 - 295     10.6 - 13    


 PU ISOCYANATES 

  

  
 
 POLYMERIC MDI   120 - 135     NAd    
 80/20 TDI   90 - 98     NAd    


 PVC RESIN (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL   55 - 57 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 PIPE   52 - 54 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 FILM   63 - 66 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   73 - 75     NAd    
 DISPERSION HOMOPOLY   84 - 90     NAd    
 COPOLYMER   89 - 93     NAd    
 CPVC PIPE COMPOUND   119     NAd    


 PVDC 

  

  
 
 EXTRUDABLE   162     NAd    


 SILICONES 

  

  
 
 MOLD. COMP.   581 - 640     38.1 - 39.3    
 SPECIALTY GR.   891 - 3148    NAd    
 SILICONE/EPOXY   339 - 343     22.5 - 22.8    


 STYRENEACRYLIC 

108 - 112   

3.7 - 4.0   
 


 SAN (G-P) 

66 - 74   

2.5 - 2.8   
 


 STYRENE MALEIC ANHYDRIDE 

  

  
 
 G-P   110 - 115     4.2 - 4.3    
 HI IMP   130 - 140     4.2 - 4.5    
 FR   175 - 183     6.7 - 7.0    


 TP ELASTOMERS 

  

  
 
 OLEFINIC   70 - 76     2.4    
 POLYAMIDE   287 - 337     10.4 - 12.3    
 POLYESTER   200 - 310     8.8 - 13.6    
 STYRENIC   82 - 237     2.9 - 8.3    


 UREA MOLDING COMPOUND 

  

  
 
 BLACK & BROWN   76     3.8    
 WHITE & IVORY   81     4.0    


 VINYL ESTER 

  

  
 
 COR RES   205 - 217     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   230     NAd    

KEY: Colored areas indicate pricing activity. An arrow () indicates direction of price change. aTruckload, unless otherwise specified. bUnfilled, natural color, unless otherwise specified. cBased on typical or average density. dNot applicable. eNovolac and anhydride grades for coils, bushings, transformers. fNovolac and anhydride grades for resisitors, capacitors, diodes. gIn quantities of 20,000 lb. h19,800-lb load. jLME 30-day futures contract for lots of 54,564 lb..