In the teeth of a deepening recession, commodity resin suppliers managed to raise prices in the first two months of the year, spurred by a sudden uptick in monomer tabs. YES, PE PRICES ARE UPPolyethylene suppliers succeeded in hiking prices 7¢/lb in January and February, giving them full implementation of their first increase of the year.

In the teeth of a deepening recession, commodity resin suppliers managed to raise prices in the first two months of the year, spurred by a sudden uptick in monomer tabs.

 

YES, PE PRICES ARE UP

Polyethylene suppliers succeeded in hiking prices 7¢/lb in January and February, giving them full implementation of their first increase of the year. This came after prices crashed between August and December by a total of 48¢/lb. PE plant capacity utilization rates have reportedly dropped below 70%. That didn’t stop resin makers from announcing a second 5¢ hike for Feb. 1, but it has been delayed. Meanwhile, the London Metal Exchange (LME) North American short-term futures contract in blown-film butene LLDPE for March dropped to 34¢/lb from February’s 39¢.

Contributing Factors: The good news is that PE processors reportedly have been able to raise their prices of finished goods by about 10%, passing on the 7¢ to 8¢ resin price hikes they have incurred. PE resin tabs were driven by ethylene monomer price hikes. Contract ethylene prices in January moved up to 31.5¢/lb from December’s 28¢. According to Mike Burns, global business director for PE at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI) in Fort Worth, Texas, that little uptick in monomer prices squeezed PE resin margins enough to drive up prices, supported by a bout of resin pre-buying in January, ahead of announced price hikes. Ethylene monomer contract prices are expected to be flat in February.

 

PP PRICES ROSE, TOO

Polypropylene prices moved up 2¢/lb in January, representing partial implementation of the year’s first hike of 6¢/lb. Price hikes of 6¢ to 8¢, effective Feb. 1, were also expected to be implemented by this month. Meanwhile the LME’S North American short-term futures contract in general-purpose injection grade homopolymer in March dropped to 29.9¢/lb from February’s 39.2¢/lb.

Contributing factors: January propylene monomer contract prices settled 2¢ higher at 22¢/lb and increases of 6¢ to 7¢ were on the table for February. Scott Newell, RTI’s director of client services for PP, says there was monomer oversupply in the fourth quarter of 2008 and prices were “overcorrected” downward. But then, he says, “Propylene supplies were aimed toward the propane stream for fuel. This, along with crackers being shut down and refineries running at lower rates, served to tighten up propylene supply.”

PP resin demand is still very low, but demand bumped upward in the first couple of months of the new year, following a strong de-stocking effort in fourth quarter. “People are back buying resin because their inventories had been cleaned out,” says Newell, although he expects PP demand in the first half of this year to be lower than last year’s first half. Industry estimates peg plant utilization at 70% or lower.

 

PVC: EXPECT AN INCREASE

PVC resin producers say they were invoicing PVC at prices 5¢ higher last month. Processors, however, say the increase would be only 2¢ to 3¢ in February. Shintech’s deferred 2¢ hike for March 1 seems to be forgotten.

Contributing factors: The price increase was said to be justified by rising ethylene monomer contract prices, which were 5¢ higher (at 31.5¢/lb) in January than in November. Ethylene in February appeared flat.

Demand for rigid PVC remains very weak, though processors said last month it was better than in the fourth quarter of 2008. Pipe processors appear to be working only three- to four-day weeks, while other PVC processors say they’re working five days.

 

PS PRODUCERS WANT A HIKE

Americas Styrenics in late January sent customers a letter announcing a 5¢ increase for Feb. 15, soon seconded by Ineos Nova and Total. Processors protested the two-week notice, and Total deferred its hike to March 1.

Contributing factors: PS producers had lowered prices 8¢ to 9¢/lb in January, when benzene feedstock prices fell. In mid-February, benzene prices bounced back—up 5¢ from January. Contract benzene for February was $1.35/gal; spot benzene was $1.40 to $1.42. PS demand continues to be very weak, especially for refrigeration and CD boxes, despite a slight seasonal uptick in packaging. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Feb 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   166 - 182     7.9    
 20% GLASS   172 - 190     8.2    
 30% GLASS   173 - 217     9.3    
 EXTRUSION   140 - 180     7.7    
 BLOW MOLD   145 - 185     7.5    
 STRUCT FOAM   144 - 181     7.8    
 20% GLASS   230 - 255     11.0    
 FR   161 - 197     8.5    
 CD   130 - 195     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)   67 - 71     3.4 - 3.6    
 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 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   52 - 54 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 - 1.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 LID RESIN   55 - 57 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 - 1.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 LINER   52 - 54 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 - 1.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 CLARITY   48 - 50 Prices Went Up  
  1.6 - 1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRU COATG   53 - 55 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 BLOW MOLD   55 - 57 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 - 1.9 Prices Went Up  
 

 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   55 - 57 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 - 1.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   34 Prices Went Up  
  1.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   52 - 54 Prices Went Down 
  1.7 - 1.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 ROTOMOLD   49 - 51 Prices Went Up  
  1.6 - 1.7 Prices Went Up  
 

 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

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

 HDPE 

  

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

 HMW-HDPE 

  

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

 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   40 - 42 Prices Went Up  
  1.3 - 1.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   29.9 Prices Went Down 
  1.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   38 - 40 Prices Went Up  
  1.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   46 - 48 Prices Went Up  
  1.5 - 1.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   44 - 46 Prices Went Up  
  1.4 - 1.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   44 - 46 Prices Went Up  
  1.4 - 1.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   43 - 45 Prices Went Up  
  1.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   54 - 56 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 - 1.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   56 - 58 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 - 1.9 Prices Went Up  
 

 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   53 - 59     2.0 - 2.2    
 HI HEAT   56 - 61     2.1 - 2.3    
 HIPS   62 - 68     2.3 - 2.6    
 SUPER HI IMP   69 - 79     2.4 - 3.0    
 FR   75 - 80     2.8 - 3.0    
 STRUCT FM (FR)   63 - 65     2.4    

 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   44 - 46 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 PIPE   43 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 FILM   49 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   71 - 74 Prices Went Up  
  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..