There’s no consistency to trends in recycled resin prices during the first half of the year. Various pressures kept RPET prices down, while R-HDPE has gone up, despite the weak pipe market.
RPET PRICES DOWN
Sources say 2014 has been “strange” for RPET pricing so far. Tightened margins have stimulated processors’ interest in post-consumer recycled (PCR) resins The PCR market saw increasing prices every month through May, when they stabilized and then dipped in June. The virgin market, on the other hand, has been dipping since the beginning of the year. “Now, we are hearing about a potential increase in virgin prices going into summer,” said one recycler
On the West Coast, the talk is all about pricing pressure from Mexico. The Chinese are still not buying a lot. Most of the pricing movement is in the clear market, at least on the East Coast, because of significant recycling capacity expansions, says one recycler. “When there is so much sitting around, it gets to the point where there is no profit margin.”
While 2014 is expected to be weak year for a lot of those in the RPET business, “we are still a little bit ahead of last year,” says one reseller.
R-HDPE SELLING HIGH
Bad weather from winter through spring continued to depress the pipe business, which is a major source of demand for R-HDPE. Though down from a “normal” season, business for recyclers is not as bad as it was last year at this time.
On the other hand, the bad winter weather drove scrap prices up at the start of 2014. Those prices have stabilized going into summer, but they are still quite a bit higher than they were at this time last year.
Some recycled natural resin prices are being sold above virgin right now because the natural bales are so expensive and scarce. “We are hearing 49¢/lb for bales picked up at recycling centers,” said one source.