WEB EXCLUSIVE: On the East Coast, RPET prices continue to climb, although somewhat slower than they have been.
Debbie Galante Block
On the East Coast, RPET prices continue to climb, although somewhat slower than they have been. On the West Coast, prices are plummeting—in some cases as much as 25%.
West Coast pricing and supply are mostly dependent on the Chinese market. February brought peak pricing, but March prices began to plummet. At their highest point, bale prices on the West Coast were up to 43.6¢/lb. At the end of the month, they were down around 34.3¢.
“We don’t know how much of an effect Japan’s tragedy will have on the RPET market. Japan uses a lot of resin,” said one reprocessor. While demand in Japan is down, supply is down, too, because three Japanese PET resin plants have shut down since the earthquake.
After March 1, West Coast RPET prices went down every week. “Usually prices drop 2¢ or 2.5¢ in a month. Bale prices were down 9¢ last month,” one source said. A broker in New England expected a drop in post-industrial RPET prices of 8% to 10%.
However, a big East Coast recycler said the market remains strong there. “There’s still not enough supply to meet demand. We haven’t seen prices go down at all and the indicators are extremely bullish.”
“We’re up 4% in sales since March 1. That’s after going up 7% or 7.5% in February. Not sure what’s slowing it down now,” says one reseller.
Reports in mid-April indicated that West Coast flake prices were around 70¢, or about 10¢ below East Coast prices.