In the first four months of the year, commodity resin prices took a breather from their relentless uphill march.

 In the first four months of the year, commodity resin prices took a breather from their relentless uphill march. Then, last month, polyolefin prices caught a sudden updraft. Resin demand and monomer prices, both of which had been slumping for months, made a quick turnaround.

 

PE is high and tight

Polyethylene prices were on the way up last month as suppliers aimed to implement their May 1 increases, generally 6¢/lb for LL/LDPE and 3¢ for HDPE. A new price increase of 7¢/lb was issued by several major suppliers for June 1. This initiative follows a cumulative drop of 20¢/lb in PE resin prices since December.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) short-term futures contract for June in butene LLDPE for g-p blown film is 56.5¢/lb, up from May’s 53.8¢ and April’s 51¢/lb.

Contributing factors: Suppliers’ efforts to raise prices are encouraged by an uptick in demand resulting from a combination of a seasonal factors and inventory restocking by processors. “Demand was flat in the first quarter, but we expect demand in the second quarter to be up 2% to 3%,” said one major resin maker. “We anticipate overall demand in 2006 to show growth of 6% to 8%, with about half of that the result of downstream inventory replenishment, and the rest a solid increase,” says a major supplier.

Ethylene monomer contract prices, which had dropped 2¢/lb to 45.5¢/lb for April, were generally expected to move up 4¢ to 6¢ in May, following a rise in spot prices to 50¢/lb. “There is no major new capacity scheduled for either ethylene or polyethylene, so supply will only get tighter,” says one industry source. Moreover, Huntsman’s ethylene cracker in Port Arthur, Texas, which accounts for 2% of domestic ethylene supply, may not be back in operation for at least six months after a major fire there last month.

 

PP prices rising, too

Polypropylene prices were also on the way up last month, generally by 4¢/lb, as suppliers aimed to fully implement their May increases. A new 6¢ increase, effective June 1, appeared to have been led by Basell Polyolefins.

LME’s June short-term futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer is 53.2¢/lb, up from May’s 50.1¢ and April’s 51¢/lb.

Contributing factors: In defense of its price hike, Basell cited continued escalation of energy, transportation, and feedstock costs, along with improved demand—factors that are confirmed by other suppliers and industry analysts. Says one supplier, “Demand was up about 2% in the first quarter over 2005, but we anticipate a 3% to 4% increase for the second quarter. We are also seeing more customers looking to stock up, generally with a month’s supply, in anticipation of this year’s hurricane season.”

Meanwhile, polymer-grade propylene monomer stood at 47¢/lb in April, with May contracts expected to settle at about 49¢. At press time last month, June monomer prices appeared to be headed upward by another 1¢ to 2¢/lb.

 

Nylon hike

Solutia announced a price increase of 7¢/lb on all its Ascend and Vydyne nylon 66 resins.

 

PUR prices & surcharges rise

Dow Polyurethanes issued a 5¢/lb increase for June 1 on TDI, MDI, and polyether and copolymer polyols. Meanwhile, BASF implemented a 2¢/lb fuel surcharge on all tank truck, tote, and drum shipments of its PUR systems for rigid and flexible foams and solid urethane applications as of May 15. BASF attributes its move to the need to offset the “severe impact” on both its inbound and outbound freight costs due to high diesel and gasoline prices.

On a positive note, Bayer MaterialScience claims to have developed new technology for making TDI that reduces the plant capital cost by 10% to 20% and cuts energy consumption by one-third. A 60-million-lb/yr pilot plant using the new technology has been running in Germany for over a year. Bayer plans to use the technology commercially for the first time at a 320-million-lb plant planned to be built in China by the end of 2009.

 

Styrene plant idled for lack of ethylene

Nova Chemicals decided last month to “temporarily idle” its Bayport, Texas, styrene monomer plant because of limited ethylene feedstock availability on the Gulf Coast. In particular, Huntsman Corp. declared force majeure on ethylene after an explosion at its olefins plant in Port Arthur, Texas, at the end of April.

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-May 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     4.1 - 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   82 - 84     2.6 - 2.7    
 INJECTION   85 - 87     2.7 - 2.8    
 LID RESIN   87 - 89     2.8    
 LINER   83 - 85     2.6 - 2.7    
 CLARITY   81 - 83     2.6    
 EXTRU COATG   85 - 87     2.7 - 2.8    
 BLOW MOLD   87 - 89     2.8    


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   71 - 73     2.4    
 LME 30-DAYj   56.5 Prices Went Up  
  1.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   73 - 75     2.4 - 2.5    
 ROTOMOLD   75 - 77     2.4 - 2.5    


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   74 - 76     2.4 - 2.5    
 LID RESIN   83 - 85     2.7 - 2.8    
 LINER FILM   78 - 80     2.6 - 2.7    


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   72 - 74     2.5    
 FILM   82 - 84     2.7 - 2.8    
 BLOW MOLD   76 - 78     2.6 - 2.7    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   81 - 83     2.7 - 2.8    
 FILM   83 - 85     2.8    
 PIPE   88 - 90     2.9    


 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   76 - 78     2.5 - 2.6    
 LME 30-DAYj   53.2 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   75 - 77     2.5 - 2.6    
 PROFILES   80 - 82     2.6 - 2.7    
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   81 - 83     2.6 - 2.7    
 FILM   80 - 82     2.6 - 2.7    
 INJECTION   78 - 80     2.6    
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   89 - 91     2.9    
 HI IMP   92 - 94     2.9 - 3.0    


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   64 - 72     2.4 - 2.7    
 HI HEAT   67 - 75     2.5 - 2.8    
 HIPS   65 - 72     2.4 - 2.7    
 SUPER HI IMP   75 - 81     2.8 - 3.0    
 FR   83 - 91     3.1 - 3.4    
 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   53 - 55     NAd    
 PIPE   50 - 52     NAd    
 FILM   61 - 64     NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   71 - 73     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..