In polyolefins and PET, resin suppliers recently announced price increases at the same time that prices were actually falling, thanks to softer feedstock pricing and weakness in both domestic and overseas demand. Industry analysts don’t expect prices to move much in either direction right now.

PE PRICES RETREAT

Polyethylene prices dropped 3¢/lb in February, erasing a 3¢ increase the month before (which was only half of what suppliers had sought). Resin makers tried again, announcing price hikes of 6¢/lb for March 1. Meanwhile, The London Metal Exchange (LME) North American futures contract for April in blown film butene LLDPE remained flat at 65.7¢/lb.

Contributing factors: Since October, PE resin prices moved up 9¢/lb. But now, slumping exports are compounding the softness in domestic demand. Up to now, the weak U.S. dollar has boosted exports to the point of creating a shortage of shipping containers in Houston. “Whereas it normally took three to five days to get containers returned from ports like Hong Kong, it now takes over two weeks to return them, because these Eastern ports have an overload of product in containers,” explains Mike Burns, global business director for PE at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas.

PE makers’ inventories have grown to 45 days or more, according to some industry analysts. RTI’s Burns thinks that PE prices are unlikely to drop further if oil prices keep rising.

From October to March, monomer prices rose and then settled lower. In October, ethylene contract prices were 57. 5¢/lb, rose to 63.5¢ in January, and settled back to 59.5¢ in February. Suppliers were pushing for March contract increases of as much as 5¢/lb, but industry analysts doubted that would happen. RTI’s Burns noted that spot ethylene prices dropped from October’s 51¢/lb to 50¢ in March.

 

PP PRICES DOWN

Polypropylene prices dropped 2¢ to 3¢/lb in February, offsetting a 1¢ increase in January. Nonetheless, a PP price hike was announced in late February. Suppliers were seeking 3¢ more for March 1, citing the persistently high costs of feedstocks and energy. The increase is meant to be on top of previously announced hikes. Meanwhile, the April LME North America short-term futures contract for g-p injection grade homopolymer sold at 68.4¢/lb, unchanged from March.

Contributing factors: Lower PP prices followed the February drop in propylene monomer contract prices of 3¢ to 59.5¢/lb. Suppliers were seeking March monomer contract price increases of up to 5¢/lb, but industry analysts expect a 1¢ increase at most. Says Scott Newell, RTI’s director of client services for PP, “Spot propylene is already trading down to 56-57¢/lb. However, there is now a tightening of monomer supply developing, due to planned and unplanned outages and other factors.”

Domestic resin demand remains soft and exports have declined, despite the weak dollar. This is partially due to an actual drop in overseas demand and to the shipping problems noted above. U.S. PP exports in March were estimated at about 300 million lb, down from 407 million lb/month in August and September. Industry sources like RTI’s Newell expect PP prices to remain flat at least through March, with increased likelihood of spot-market discount opportunities.

 

PET PRICES lower—FOR NOW

PET prices dropped 2.5¢ to 3¢/lb by the end of February, but all major suppliers issued hikes of 5¢/lb for April 1.

Contributing factors: Resin prices followed price declines in feedstocks. However, feedstock prices are expected to move up this month. PET suppliers, whose profit margins are negligible at best, aim to strengthen resin prices for the period of seasonal high demand. Says RTI’s PET global business director, Mike Dewsbury, “Supply/demand will tighten for PET in April and May.”

 

OTHER PRICES UP

Prices of engineering resins and thermosets may be moving up again. BASF issued several price increases for March. Its fiber materials group raised nylon 6 tabs 10¢/lb for fibers, film, wire and cable, and compounding. Its engineering materials group hiked nylon 6 and 66 by 15¢/lb and PBT 10¢/lb.

Meanwhile, AOC announced a 7¢/lb increase for unsaturated polyester resins and gel coats for April 7. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Mar A
 

 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 

 ABS 

  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   90 - 110     3.4 - 4.2    
 HI IMPACT   95 - 131     3.6 - 5.0    
 X-HI IMPACT   105 - 145     4.0 - 5.5    
 HI HEAT   90 - 125     3.4 - 4.7    
 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   160     6.0    
 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   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   693 - 1050     44.4 - 67.2    


 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   171 - 182     7.4 - 7.9    
 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   150 - 185     7.0 - 7.5    
 STRUCT FOAM   149 - 181     6.4 - 7.8    
 20% GLASS   235 - 255     10.1 - 11.0    
 FR   166 - 197     7.1 - 8.5    
 CD   135 - 195     5.8 - 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)   75 - 77 Prices Went Down 
  3.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 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   142 - 152     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   170 - 185     NAd    
 BIS-A   205 - 225     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   75 - 78 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   77 - 79 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   79 - 81 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER   74 - 76 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 CLARITY   73 - 75 Prices Went Down 
  2.4 - 2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRU COATG   78 - 80 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   80 - 81 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   72 - 74 Prices Went Down 
  2.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   65   
  2.2   
 
 FILM   77 - 79 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 ROTOMOLD   74 - 76 Prices Went Down 
  2.4 - 2.5 Prices Went Down 
 


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   75 - 77 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   85 - 87 Prices Went Down 
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER FILM   78 - 80 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   72 - 74 Prices Went Down 
  2.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   81 - 83 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   82 - 84 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   79 - 81 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   80 - 82 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 PIPE   87 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 Prices Went Down 
 


 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   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   78 - 80 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   68.4     2.3    
 EXTRUSION FIBER   76 - 78 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 PROFILES   81 - 83 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   82 - 84 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   82 - 84 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   81 - 83 Prices Went Down 
  2.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   92 - 94 Prices Went Down 
  2.9 - 3.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 HI IMP   94 - 96 Prices Went Down 
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Down 
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   88 - 94 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 3.5   
 
 HI HEAT   91 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.6   
 
 HIPS   89 - 94 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 3.5   
 
 SUPER HI IMP   99 - 103 Prices Went Up  
  3.7 - 3.9   
 
 FR   104 - 110 Prices Went Up 
  3.9 - 4.1   
 
 STRUCT FM (FR)   105 - 108     NA    


 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   58 - 60     NAd    
 PIPE   57     NAd    
 FILM   63 - 65     NAd    
 COPOLYMER FLOORING   69 - 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   218 - 235     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   243 - 248     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..