Polyolefins, PET, and PVC were on the way up last month, as resin suppliers sought to recover margins shrunken by lackluster demand and higher feedstock costs.

Polyolefins, PET, and PVC were on the way up last month, as resin suppliers sought to recover margins shrunken by lackluster demand and higher feedstock costs. A strong export market over the last few months and expectation of a lift from second-quarter seasonal demand has lifted resin plant operating rates after a slump in the fourth quarter.

 

PE prices up a little

Polyethylene moved up 3¢/lb in February, implementing half of the price hike originally slated for Jan. 1. By mid-March, it did not appear that the second half of the increase (for LL/LDPE only) was taking hold. A second increase of 7¢, announced for mid-January, was pushed back to Apr. 1. The London Metal Exchange (LME) short-term futures contract for April in g-p butene LLDPE for blown film sold at 52.2¢/lb, up from March’s 51¢.

Contributing factors: With two price initiatives pending, resin suppliers hope to recover at least part of the fourth quarter’s 17¢ erosion in profit margins. Suppliers’ inventories are low due to reduced operating rates in the fourth quarter and strong exports, offsetting slow domestic demand from November through February.

Ethylene monomer contract prices for February and March did not go up as expected. In fact, February contracts settled down 1¢ to 38.9¢/lb, and March contracts held even.

 

PP inches up, too

Polypropylene prices moved up in January and February a total of 5¢/lb. Suppliers posted a 4¢ increase for March 1, but industry sources indicated that no more than 2¢ of that is likely to be implemented. LME’s April short-term futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer sold at 52.2¢/lb, the same as in March.

Contributing factors: So far this year, PP prices have closely tracked monomer prices. Propylene contract prices for February rose 2¢/lb, followed by settlement of March contracts at the February level. However, some industry sources project that monomer prices will start rising, owing to some planned cracker turnarounds, good exports, and the start of the driving season.

In the short term, PP resin prices are expected to be mostly flat. Scott Newell, managing partner at purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas, says resin makers lack pricing power to improve their margins because domestic demand has been weak. “While I would not say you can expect prices to go down, they are also not likely to go up for now,” Newell concludes. PP producers say inventories are low across the supply chain and the usual seasonal uptick in demand could change the picture.

 

PET prices moving up

PET prices were slated to rise 5¢/lb last month, and suppliers tacked on another 4¢/lb increase for Apr. 1.

Contributing factors: PET producers are aiming for margin recovery, having lost most of their 12¢ to 15¢ gains of the last half of 2006. They also expect price pressure from feedstocks, especially paraxylene, as the approaching driving season boosts demand for gasoline at refineries.

The supply/demand balance is said to be on the tight side, with demand up about 6% and operating rates in the low 90s. But the situation is expected to reverse by the end of the second quarter as major new resin capacity comes on stream after start-up delays at the new PET plants.

 

PVC announces second hike

In mid-March, PVC producers were trying hard to get 2¢ of a 3¢/lb increase announced for March 1. They also all announced another 3¢ increase for Apr. 1. Three-cent hikes are highly unusual for PVC, which typically goes up or down in 2¢ increments. This is considered an attempt to stem the slide that began in the very weak fourth quarter and continued in January and February, when prices slipped 3¢.

Contributing factors: Resin producers’ operating rates in February were 86%, up a little from January but generally not considered enough to support a price increase. In-ground pipe demand is strong, but other sectors like siding, windows, and electrical conduit are still very weak.

 

PS is quiet, ABS up

Resin producers say they encountered no resistance to the 4¢ hike in March, which was prompted by higher benzene prices. There were no further pricing moves as of mid-March.

On the other hand, Dow raised prices by 10¢/lb on Apr. 1 for two styrene copolymers—ABS and SAN.

 

Epoxy & isocyanates rise

Dow Epoxy added 6¢ to 10¢/lb to prices of epoxies and curing agents on Apr. 1.

Also on that date, Dow Polyurethanes lifted tabs on TDI by 10¢ and MDI by 5¢/lb. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-March A
 
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 

 ABS 

  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   84 - 90     3.1 - 3.4    
 HI IMPACT   89 - 125     3.3 - 4.7    
 X-HI IMPACT   99 - 140     3.7 - 5.3    
 HI HEAT   89 - 110     3.3 - 3.8    
 PIPE   89 - 100     3.7 - 3.8    
 SHEET   94 - 110     3.5 - 4.2    
 TRANSPARENT   129 - 200     5.6 - 8.8    
 FITTINGS   89 - 110     3.5 - 4.3    
 PLATING   100 - 130     3.9 - 5.1    
 FLAME RET   124 - 140     4.6 - 5.9    
 STRUCT FM   87 - 97     3.2 - 4.3    
 10% GLASS   129 - 140     4.8 - 5.6    
 30% GLASS   124 - 136     4.6 - 6.3    
 ABS/PC ALLOY   149 - 180     5.5 - 6.8    
 ABS/PVC ALLOY   134 - 139     5.0 - 5.2    
 ABS/NYLON ALLOY   194 - 350     9.0 - 16    


 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   46 - 52     1.5 - 1.7    
 FILM EXTRU   42 - 49     1.4 - 1.6    


 EVOH 

315   

13.4   
 


 FLUORO-POLYMER 

  

  
 
 CTFE   5000 - 6000    385 - 462    
 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   145 - 150     6.8 - 7.0    
 HI-IMP   160 - 165     8.4 - 8.6    
 30% GLASS, FR   190 - 210     11.2 - 12.5    
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165     NAd    


 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   76 - 78 Prices Went Up  
  3.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 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   140 - 145     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   165 - 175     NAd    
 BIS-A   210 - 215     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   79 - 82 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 LID RESIN   84 - 86 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 LINER   78 - 80 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 CLARITY   76 - 78 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRU COATG   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 BLOW MOLD   85 - 87 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 Prices Went Up  
 


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   65 - 67 Prices Went Up  
  2.2 - 2.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   52 Prices Went Up  
  1.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   67 - 69 Prices Went Up  
  2.3 - 2.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 ROTOMOLD   69 - 71 Prices Went Up  
  2.3 - 2.4 Prices Went Up  
 


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   70 - 72 Prices Went Up  
  2.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 LID RESIN   81 - 83 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 LINER FILM   74 - 76 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   67 - 69 Prices Went Up  
  2.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   76 - 78 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 BLOW MOLD   70 - 72 Prices Went Up  
  2.4 - 2.5 Prices Went Up  
 

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   74 - 76 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   76 - 78 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 PIPE   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 


 UHMW-PE 

1.00 - 1.25   

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   79 - 81 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   52.2 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   77 - 79 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   81 - 83 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   84 - 86 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL       Prices Went Up  
 
 MED IMP   92 - 94 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   95 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 Prices Went Up  
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   79 - 85     3.0 - 3.3    
 HI HEAT   82 - 88     3.1 - 3.3    
 HIPS   80 - 85     3.0 - 3.3    
 SUPER HI IMP   90 - 94     3.2 - 3.5    
 FR   98 - 106     3.7 - 4.0    
 STRUCT FM (FR)   105 - 108     NA    


 EPS 

  

  
 
 UNMODIFIED   85 - 88     NAd    
 MODIFIED   86 - 90     NAd    


 POLYSULFONE 

569 - 622   

25 - 28   
 
 10% GLASS 430 20.6   749 - 799     36 - 39    
 30% GLASS 372 20.01   659 - 699     32 - 34    


 POLYURETHANE (TP) 

  

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


 PU ISOCYANATES 

  

  
 
 POLYMERIC MDI   118 - 135     NAd    
 80/20 TDI   145 - 155     NAd    


 PVC RESIN (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL   47 - 49     NAd    
 PIPE   46     NAd    
 FILM   55 - 58     NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   68 - 70     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) 

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   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   76     3.8    
 WHITE & IVORY   81     4.0    


 VINYL ESTER 

  

  
 
 COR RES   218 - 230     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   243     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..