Polyolefin prices sledded downhill in December, while PVC skated on flat resin tabs.

Polyolefin prices sledded downhill in December, while PVC skated on flat resin tabs. But last month saw the first signs that PP, PS, and PVC prices were climbing back uphill.

 

PE prices down

Polyethylene prices were moving down by about 4¢/lb in January, following a similar drop in December. That final slump left the net rise in prices for 2005 at about 28¢/lb.

The last announced price hike, of 5¢/lb, was delayed from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1 and then delayed again. A new date for implementation has not been set. Meanwhile, prices are rising on the London Metal Exchange. The LME short-term futures contract for February 18 in g-p blown-film butene LLDPE sold at 57.7¢/lb, up from January’s 51.26¢ and December’s 49.9¢/lb.

Contributing factors: Resin tabs moved downward due to relatively weak demand in December and early January, coupled with inventory drawdown by processors. “We expect that within the next 30 to 45 days, the drawdown of inventories will have been completed,” said one major supplier in mid-January.

Industry sources concur that upward movement in prices is likely to recur once the inventory correction is worked out, possibly as early as the second quarter. Inventory restocking alone should prompt demand growth of 3% to 4% this year, and overall growth could reach 5% to 6%. Plant utilization rates, now reported to be somewhere in the 80% to 90% range, are expected to settle around 90% to 95% as the year progresses.

Despite lower spot prices for ethylene monomer in December, January contract prices were generally expected to remain at the December level of 56.5¢/lb. Several scheduled plant turnarounds taking place within the next three months are expected to keep monomer supply tight.

 

PP prices lower, too

Polypropylene prices dropped an average of 2¢ to 3¢/lb in December, although discounts of as much as 5¢ to 6¢ were widespread. But firming prices were evident early last month when most major suppliers issued a 4¢/lb price hike for Feb. 1.

LME’s February short-term futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer rose to 53.2¢/lb, after a slight dip in January to 47.85¢ from December’s 48¢/lb.

Contributing factors: Lower resin tabs resulted from December’s propylene monomer contract prices dropping 5¢/lb, coupled with sluggish end-of-year demand and processors drawing down inventories. However, demand rebounded last month by about 20%, according to some suppliers, and is projected to continue on this path. Suppliers expect their plant utilization rates to run in the 90% to 95% range.

On the other side of the coin, slumping monomer prices will exert downward pressure on resin prices. At press time, proposed January contract prices were 4.5¢ lower than the month before.

 

PVC flat in January

January without a PVC price hike is a seasonal anomaly. But OxyChem’s attempt at a 4¢ hike on Jan. 1 met no support. (Formosa had led the market down 2¢ in December by announcing a price cut.) Instead, Shintech announced a 2¢ increase for Feb. 1, supported by Georgia Gulf and Formosa Plastics. OxyChem was considered likely to go along once Formosa made its move.

Contributing factors: At the end of January, OxyChem was due to shut down its 300-million-lb/yr PVC plant in Scotford, Alberta, in conjunction with Dow Chemical’s closure of a Canadian vinyl chloride monomer plant. With mild winter weather, gas futures were trending down and expected to be lower in February and March. January PVC demand was not bad but weaker than in December.

 

PS hikes announced

Polystyrene resin producers all supported a 6¢/lb increase for Feb. 1, except Chevron Phillips, which announced a 5¢ hike for that date. Whether producers go with 5¢ or 6¢ depends on where benzene prices are headed. Meanwhile, EPS prices were flat in January.

Contributing factors: Benzene rose from $2.18/gal in December to $2.46 in January, with spot benzene as high as $2.65/gal. (A 10¢ change in benzene cost equals roughly 1¢ for styrene monomer or PS.) EPS prices are sensitive to Asian imports, but Asian prices are firming. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Jan 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)   84 - 87     4.3 - 4.4    
 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   86 - 88 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   89 - 91 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   91 - 93 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 CLARITY   85 - 87 Prices Went Down 
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRU COATG   89 - 91 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   91 - 93 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   75 - 77 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   77 - 79 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   57.7 Prices Went Down 
  1.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 ROTOMOLD   79 - 81 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   89 - 91 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   90 - 92 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER FILM   92 - 94 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Down 
 


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   76 - 78 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   86 - 88 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   80 - 82 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   85 - 87 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 PIPE   92 - 94 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 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   77 - 79 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   53.2 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   76 - 78 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 PROFILES   81 - 83 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   82 - 84 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   83 - 85 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   80 - 82 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   91 - 94 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 HI IMP   94 - 98 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.2 Prices Went Down 
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   70 - 78     2.6 - 2.9    
 HI HEAT   73 - 81     2.7 - 3.0    
 HIPS   71 - 79     2.7 - 3.0    
 SUPER HI IMP   81 - 87     3.0 - 3.3    
 FR   89 - 97     3.3 - 3.6    
 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   59 - 61     NAd    
 PIPE   56 - 58     NAd    
 FILM   68 - 70     NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   75 - 77     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   195 - 207     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   220     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..