The free fall in resin prices appeared to end with a thump last month.

The free fall in resin prices appeared to end with a thump last month. Makers of PE, PP, and PVC resins were posting price increases, at least part of which are likely to go through. Only PS prices have yet to find a bottom.

 

PE PRICES REBOUNDING?

Polyethylene prices apparently bottomed out by the end of December after dropping another 10¢/lb, bringing the total decline in 2008 to 43¢/lb. At least part of suppliers’ 7¢ price hike for Jan. 1 appears to have a good chance of taking effect this month. Meanwhile, resin producers have also called for an additional 5¢ hike for Feb.1. The uptick was supported by the direction of the London Metal Exchange (LME) short-term futures contract in blown-film butene LLDPE for February. It rose to 39¢/lb from an all-time low of 19.7¢ in January, but was still far below December’s 58.7¢.

Contributing factors: Reduced ethylene monomer production is putting upward pressure on PE resin prices. Monomer spot prices rose from December’s low of 16¢/lb to 23¢ by mid-January. Although December’s ethylene contract price dropped to 28¢/lb—a whopping 35¢ reduction from the September level—the rise in spot prices last month was expected to result in higher contract prices for January.

Mike Burns, global business director for PE at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI) in Fort Worth, Texas, sees pressure to increase PE prices from shrinking monomer and polymer profit margins. He thinks this year’s first hike is apt to split into 4¢ this month and 3¢ in March.

 

PP PRICES RISING, TOO?

Another 10¢/lb fall in December meant that polypropylene prices dropped a total of 68¢ to 70¢ last year. About half of PP suppliers’ 6¢ January hike appeared to have a chance of getting through by this month. Mirroring this trend was the rise in LME’s February North American short-term futures contract in g-p injection-grade homopolymer to 39.2¢/lb from January’s 29.8¢. “Expect at least 2¢ to 3¢ of this new price increase to go through initially, and possibly 4¢ to 6¢ total over the next two months,” says Scott Newell, RTI’s director of client services for PP.

Contributing Factors: Although not settled at press time, January contract prices for propylene monomer, which had dropped to around 20¢/lb in December, were projected to settle 2¢ to 3¢ higher for January.

Says Newell, “Sensing that the bottom was near, some processors ended up with good resin price deals in November and December. Even now, in mid-January, there are still some attractively low numbers, in the 30¢ range, particularly in the spot market. However, demand is poor. Even exports are off significantly from what we saw in the last couple of years.”

PP capacity utilization is said to be well under 70%. This is evidenced by plant shutdowns totaling close to 800 million lb/yr from Ineos Olefins and Polymers (520 million lb), Flint Hills Resources (120 million lb), and ChevronPhillips (140 million lb). The latest announcement came from Sunoco, which intends to shut its 400-million-lb plant in Bayport, Texas, by Apr. 30.

 

PVC PRICES STAGNATE

After sliding roughly 20¢/lb in the fourth quarter, PVC prices in January appeared to be flat. Resin producers all supported a 5¢ increase for Feb. 1. Formosa’s initial 5¢ hike from Jan. 1 was pushed ahead one month, while Shintech’s initial hike of 7¢ for Feb. 1 was trimmed to 5¢ with 2¢ more due March 1.

Contributing factors: PVC demand continues to be very weak. Domestic pipe, window, and siding processors say resin prices may edge up in February, but only by 2¢, not 5¢, and then only if ethylene monomer goes up, too. Ethylene represents 43% of the cost of PVC. Spot ethylene in mid January was 25¢/lb. Contracts were expected to settle at around the same level.

 

PS STILL DROPPING

After plunging 12¢/lb in December, polystyrene resin prices were expected to fall 8¢ for crystal and 9¢ for HIPS in January.

Contributing factors: There is a slight increase in demand in packaging sectors, but construction and durable goods are still very weak.

Benzene contracts settled at $1.01/gal last month, though they should have been around $2, given other feedstock costs. Spot benzene was a little higher at $1.11. 

 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Jan 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 Prices Went Up  
  48 - 76 Prices Went Up  
 

 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 Prices Went Down 
  7.9   
 
 20% GLASS   172 - 190 Prices Went Down 
  8.2   
 
 30% GLASS   173 - 217 Prices Went Down 
  9.3   
 
 EXTRUSION   140 - 180 Prices Went Down 
  7.7   
 
 BLOW MOLD   145 - 185 Prices Went Down 
  7.5   
 
 STRUCT FOAM   144 - 181 Prices Went Down 
  7.8   
 
 20% GLASS   230 - 255 Prices Went Down 
  11.0   
 
 FR   161 - 197 Prices Went Down 
  8.5   
 
 CD   130 - 195 Prices Went Down 
  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 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   175 - 196 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 BIS-A   210 - 235 Prices Went Down 
  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   43 - 45 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 - 1.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   45 - 47 Prices Went Down 
  1.5 - 1.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LID RESIN   47 - 49 Prices Went Down 
  1.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 LINER   45 - 47 Prices Went Down 
  1.5 - 1.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 CLARITY   41 - 43 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRU COATG   46 - 48 Prices Went Down 
  1.5 - 1.6 Prices Went Down 
 
 BLOW MOLD   48 - 50 Prices Went Down 
  1.6 - 1.7 Prices Went Down 
 

 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   50 - 52     1.7    
 LME 30-DAYj   19.7 Prices Went Down 
  0.6   
 
 FILM   55 - 57     1.8 - 1.9    
 ROTOMOLD   52 - 54     1.7 - 1.8    

 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   53 - 55     1.8    
 LID RESIN   63 - 65     2.0 - 2.1    
 LINER FILM   56 - 58     1.8 - 1.9    

 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   53 - 55     1.8 - 1.9    
 FILM   60 - 62     2.1    
 BLOW MOLD   61 - 63     2.1 - 2.2    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   57 - 59     1.9 - 2.0    
 FILM   58 - 60     2.0    
 PIPE   65 - 67     2.2 - 2.3    

 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   38 - 40 Prices Went Down 
  1.3 Prices Went Down 
 
 LME 30-DAYj   39.2 Prices Went Up  
  1.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   36 - 38 Prices Went Down 
  1.2 - 1.3 Prices Went Down 
 
 PROFILES   44 - 46 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 - 1.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   42 - 44 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   42 - 44 Prices Went Down 
  1.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 INJECTION   41 - 43 Prices Went Down 
  1.3 - 1.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   52 - 54 Prices Went Down 
  1.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 HI IMP   54 - 56 Prices Went Down 
  1.7 - 1.8 Prices Went Down 
 

 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

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

 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   42 - 44     NAd    
 PIPE   41     NAd    
 FILM   47 - 49     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   221 - 245 Prices Went Down 
  NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   246 - 258 Prices Went Down 
  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..