Commodity resin prices are moving up gradually, if not as fast as suppliers wish.

Commodity resin prices are moving up gradually, if not as fast as suppliers wish. Low domestic demand and soft monomer prices restrain hikes, but revived exports and tight monomer supplies could change the picture.

 

PE PRICES STILL FLAT

Polyethylene prices remained unchanged through April and into early May. Suppliers rescinded their 5¢/lb March hikes but then called for a 3¢ increase for May 1, and at least one added 2¢ more for June 1. However, the London Metal Exchange (LME) North American short-term futures contract in blown-film butene LLDPE pointed in the opposite direction—37¢/lb for June, down from 38¢ for May.

Contributing factors: Polyethylene supply is said to be tight, owing to suppliers restraining production and an uptick in exports. “Suppliers did not increase production to meet that export demand,” says senior editor Mark Quinner at PetroChem Wire in Houston. According to Mike Burns, global business director for PE at Resin Technology Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas, resin capacity utilization rates have been under 70%. He also notes that while the export market rose 25% in March, PE resin inventories continued to grow. “This is an indication of how very poor domestic demand still is.” LyondellBasell plans to close another 480 million lb of HDPE capacity at Alvin, Texas, by July 31.

In the first week of May, ethylene monomer spot prices dropped to 21¢/lb from a high of 25¢ in mid-April. Contract prices in March and April fell a total of 1.5¢/lb. However, ethane prices have been going up, while ethylene prices have been dropping. “As ethylene suppliers approach zero profit margins, you can expect them to significantly reduce production. This will tighten the market and ethylene prices may start increasing,” says Burns.

 

PP PRICES MAY RISE

Polypropylene prices remained flat through April. The 2¢ to 3¢/lb price hikes for that month failed, but suppliers tried again with 3¢ increases for May 1. LME’s North American short-term futures contract in g-p injection-grade homopolymer for June was 37¢/lb, almost unchanged from May’s 37.2¢.

Contributing factors: “We are seeing something we haven’t seen for the last couple of years—relative price stability as opposed to big swings in price movement,” says Scott Newell, director of client services for PP at RTI. Export demand awakened in March and continued into April, allowing suppliers to get rid of excess resin. According to Newell, suppliers’ inventories are low and the market has tightened, although he says no one has difficulty getting resin when they need it. Domestic demand remains very poor. First quarter demand was off by 15% from last year.

Meanwhile, propylene monomer supplies are tight as refineries and steam crackers have been running at low rates. Low monomer supply was felt even more by early May, when contract prices were expected to settle 2.5¢/lb higher. Newell says tight monomer supply could continue into June and advises resin buyers to expect price increases. He predicts that suppliers will be able to get at least 2¢ of their newest 3¢ hike.

PVC HIKE FOR JUNE
PVC resin producers in mid-May all announced a 3¢/lb increase for June 1, except Westlake. Demand is still very weak. Ethylene feedstock prices are steady. So the market expects an increase of only 2¢ in May and 1¢ to 2¢ in June.

 

PS HIKE TRIMMED

Polystyrene producers pushed for a 4¢/lb hike in May, but they are expected to fall back to about 2¢. Resin makers’ announcement of a further 3¢ increase June 1 was greeted with some skepticism. Meanwhile, EPS producers are supporting 5¢/lb increases for May and 5¢ more for June.

Contributing factors: PS price increases were based on an expected surge in benzene tabs in April, which didn’t happen. Instead benzene was flat at $1.69/gal and settled for May at $1.90. That justifies only a 2¢ increase in PS. Depending on where benzene goes next, the June increase could disappear too. Imports of lower priced EPS beads from Asia have tapered off, making EPS hikes likelier.

 

PET PRICES GOING UP

Bottle-grade PET resin prices are expected to rise at least 5¢ this month. PET suppliers issued May 1 increases of 4¢ and quickly amended them to 6¢/lb.

Contributing factors: A rapid increase in the price of paraxylene feedstock caused PET suppliers to adjust their May increases higher. Paraxylene prices moved from 44¢/lb in April to 49.5¢ in May, and June price nominations were at for 51.5¢/lb. According to one major PET supplier, this upswing stems from increased PET resin and fiber demand in Asia, low production of paraxylene because of the economic slump, and the recent rise in crude oil prices, which are up $8/barrel.

This supplier expects the new PET resin price increase to be mostly successful: “Major PET bottle converters have already announced to their customers price increases of 5¢/lb for June 1. I expect that PET resin suppliers will at least get 5¢ of their 6¢/lb increases.” This source also notes that this is the first year in quite some time when there is no apparent buildup of bottle resin inventory. “There was a colder, wetter spring. The economy is slow. And no one wants to build inventory while prices of raw materials are high and there are indications that they may soon drop.”

Meanwhile, 800 to 900 million lb of new capacity from Indorama Polymers at its AlphaPet venture in Decatur, Ala., is expected to start up in June. This will start affecting the market in July.

 

OTHER HIKES LACK SUPPORT

Attempted increases in engineering resins and thermosets remain in question because of lack of industry support. Dow announced a 7¢/lb hike for PC in May, despite the fact that PC demand is weak globally. “The world is awash in PC,” says to Paul Blanchard at CMAI in Houston. Dow justified the hike on the basis of feedstock price increases.

In nylon, Honeywell Resins and Chemicals announced a 10¢/lb increase in nylon 6 resins for May 11, but no other supplier had followed suit by mid-May.

Likewise, AOC said it would hike tabs on unsaturated polyester resins and gel coats by 5¢ on June 1. Other suppliers said they were not going along. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-May A

 
 
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc

ABS 
  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   90 - 110     340 - 412    
 HI IMPACT   95 - 130     359 - 491    
 X-HI IMPACT   110 - 150     415 - 567    
 HI HEAT   90 - 125     340 - 472    
 PIPE   85 - 95     321 - 359    
 SHEET   90 - 105     340 - 397    
 TRANSPARENT   134 - 205     506 - 774    
 FITTINGS   94 - 115     355 - 434    
 PLATING   165     623    
 FLAME RET   120 - 140     453 - 529    
 STRUCT FM   92 - 102     347 - 385    
 10% GLASS   134 - 145     506 - 548    
 30% GLASS   129 - 141     487    
 ABS/PC ALLOY   154 - 185     532 - 699    
 ABS/PVC ALLOY   139 - 144     525 - 544    
 ABS/NYLON ALLOY   199 - 355     752 - 1341    

 ACETAL 

  

  
 
 HOMOPOL   151 - 172     7.7 - 8.7    
 20% GLASS   171 - 235     8.7 - 11.9    
 COPOLYMER   144 - 160     7.3 - 8.1    
 25% GLASS   171 - 245     8.7 - 12.4    

 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   69 - 71     2.3 - 2.4    
 FILM EXTRU   67 - 69     2.3    

 EVOH 

330   

15   
 

 FLUORO-POLYMER 

  

  
 
 CTFE   5000 - 6000     385 - 462    
 ECTFE   1200 - 1680     90.7 - 120    
 ETFE   1205 - 1730     80.7 - 115.8    
 FEP   971 - 1470     74.8 - 113.2    
 PFA   1550 - 2520     120 - 195    
 PTFE   500 - 950     33.5 - 63.6    
 PVDF   750 - 1200     48 - 76.9    

 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   650 - 750     24.3 - 28    
 30% GLASS   NAd - NAd     NAd - NAd    
 40% GLASS   NAd - NAd     NAd - NAd    
 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   158 - 173     7.9    
 20% GLASS   164 - 181     8.2    
 30% GLASS   165 - 207     9.3    
 EXTRUSION   133 - 171     7.7    
 BLOW MOLD   138 - 176     7.5    
 STRUCT FOAM   137 - 172     7.8    
 20% GLASS   219 - 243     11.0    
 FR   153 - 188     8.5    
 CD   124 - 186     8.4    

 POLYESTER (TP) PBT TYPE 

  

  
 
 UNFILLED   145 - 150     6.8 - 7.3    
 HI-IMP   165 - 175     7.8 - 8.3    
 30% GLASS, FR   195 - 215     9.2 - 10.1    
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165     NAd    

 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   73 - 77     3.7 - 3.8    
 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    

 POLYESTER THERMOSET 

  

  
 
 G-P ORTHO   151 - 162     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   175 - 196     NAd    
 BIS-A   210 - 235     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   50 - 52     1.7    
 INJECTION   52 - 54     1.7 - 1.8    
 LID RESIN   55 - 57     1.8 - 1.9    
 LINER   52 - 54     1.7 - 1.8    
 CLARITY   48 - 50     1.6 - 1.7    
 EXTRU COATG   53 - 55     1.8    
 BLOW MOLD   55 - 57     1.8 - 1.9    

 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   55 - 57     1.8 - 1.9    
 LME 30-DAYj   38 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   52 - 54     1.7 - 1.8    
 ROTOMOLD   49 - 51     1.6 - 1.7    

 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   50 - 52     1.7    
 LID RESIN   60 - 62     1.9    
 LINER FILM   53 - 55     1.8    

 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   50 - 52     1.7    
 FILM   57 - 59     1.9    
 BLOW MOLD   58 - 60     1.9 - 2.0    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   54 - 56     1.8    
 FILM   55 - 57     1.9    
 PIPE   62 - 64     2.0 - 2.1    

 UHMW-PE 

1.22 - 1.52   

4.1 - 5.1   
 

 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   450 - 520     27.0 - 31.2    
 55% GLASS/MINERAL   345 - 420     22.7 - 27.7    
 65% GLASS/MINERAL   270 - 315     18.9 - 22.1    

 POLYPROPYLENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL INJECTION   46 - 48     1.5 - 1.6    
 LME 30-DAYj   37 Prices Went Down 
  1.2 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   44 - 46     1.4 - 1.5    
 PROFILES   52 - 54     1.7    
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   50 - 52     1.6 - 1.7    
 FILM   50 - 52     1.6 - 1.7    
 INJECTION   49 - 51     1.6    
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   60 - 62     1.9 - 2.0    
 HI IMP   62 - 64     2.0 - 2.1    

 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   58 - 64 Prices Went Up  
  2.2 - 2.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI HEAT   61 - 66 Prices Went Up  
  2.3 - 2.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 HIPS   67 - 73 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 SUPER HI IMP   74 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 FR   77 - 82 Prices Went Up  
  2.9 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 STRUCT FM (FR)   66 - 68     2.5    

 EPS 

  

  
 
 UNMODIFIED   85 - 88     NAd    
 MODIFIED   86 - 90     NAd    

 POLYSULFONE 

650 - 750   

29 - 33   
 
 10% GLASS 430 20.6   799 - 875     36 - 39    
 30% GLASS 372 20.01   699 - 775     31 - 35    

 POLYURETHANE (TP) 

  

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

 PU ISOCYANATES 

  

  
 
 POLYMERIC MDI   125 - 145     NAd    
 80/20 TDI   135 - 145     NAd    

 PVC RESIN (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL   48 - 50 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 PIPE   47 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 FILM   53 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   71 - 74     NAd    
 DISPERSION HOMOPOLY   81 - 87     NAd    
 COPOLYMER   86 - 90     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) 

80 - 88   

3.0 - 3.3   
 

 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   300 - 350     10.9 - 12.7    
 POLYESTER   200 - 310     8.8 - 13.6    
 STYRENIC   82 - 237     2.9 - 8.3    

 UREA MOLDING COMPOUND 

  

  
 
 BLACK & BROWN          
 WHITE & IVORY          

 VINYL ESTER 

  

  
 
 COR RES   221 - 245     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   246 - 258     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..