Prices of polyolefins were moving up last month and more increases were on the way.

Prices of polyolefins were moving up last month and more increases were on the way. Rising feedstock costs and a generally robust export market are the underlying causes. PET prices also headed upward, as did styrenics, PVC, nylon, PC, thermoset polyesters, and urethane isocyanates.

 

PE prices on the upswing

Polyethylene prices rose last month as suppliers pushed through increases of 4¢/lb for LDPE, HDPE, and butene LLDPE, and 7¢/lb for hexene and octene LLDPE. Meanwhile, a new 5¢ across-the-board hike was brewing for June 1. The London Metal Exchange (LME) short-term futures contract for June in blown film butene LLDPE sold at 54¢/lb, up from May’s 53.1¢.

Contributing factors: Strong exports, higher monomer prices, and tighter supplier inventories are fueling the increases. Ethylene contract prices were expected to settle at 42.5¢/lb for April—2¢/lb over March contracts, which rose 1.5¢. Domestic PE demand rose modestly from March to May, following a slump in January and February, which left total sales up 2% for the year so far. But exports to Europe, Latin America, and especially Asia were very strong. Exports to Asia are up an estimated 20% since October. The U.S. is the lowest-cost PE producer, with resin prices nearly 10¢/lb lower than in China, for example. The 4¢/7¢ increases would significantly close that gap, notes Mike Burns, managing partner at resin-purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI) in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

PP prices rising

Polypropylene prices moved up 4¢/lb between April and May. That fell between the original 3¢ and the revised 5¢ hike that suppliers were asking for. Meanwhile, LME’s June futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer sold at 58.1¢/lb, just below May’s 58.4¢.

Contributing factors: Suppliers point to increases in feedstock, transportation, and other energy-related costs. PP prices have closely tracked monomer prices, for which April and May contracts each rose 4¢/lb. “Monomer prices are at all-time high—53.5¢/lb in May,” says RTI managing partner Scott Newell, who attributes this to planned and unplanned refinery shutdowns in the last few months.

Although domestic PP demand was up only about 1% through April, strong export demand has left the market in balance. Supplier inventories are 10 days below normal.

 

PET prices up

PET prices generally rose 2¢/lb in May, reflecting partial implementation of a 3¢ announced increase. Suppliers followed that up with a new 4¢/lb hike for June 1.

Contributing factors: Suppliers say they need to recover several months of increased feedstock costs. They also note strong demand in North and South America. Says one major producer, “This is one of the busiest seasons, and resin plants are running at over 90% utilization.” This source also says the anticipated oversupply from new capacity is not likely to materialize until July or August.

 

PVC’s rise continues

Some resin producers and processors say the 3¢ hike set for April was trimmed back to 2¢—the size of Westlake’s hike. A further 2¢ increase was slated for May, and OxyChem and Georgia Gulf announced another 2¢ for June. Pipe demand was still good in mid-May, but weaker than before. Other construction markets were weak.

 

Polystyrene up 5¢

PS producers say they got a 5¢ hike in May without protest. Producers’ costs rose 6.4¢/lb in May on higher ethylene and benzene prices. Contract benzene went from $3.64/gal to $4.20. In a move to reduce PS overcapacity, Dow is expected to convert a 300- to 400-million-lb PS plant in Midland, Mich., to ABS production later this year.

Other thermoplastics

  • Nylon 6: BASF, DSM, and Nycoa hiked nylon 6 resins 8¢/lb between May 1 and June 1.
  • Polycarbonate: Dow lifted PC and PC/ABS tabs 12¢/lb June 1.
  • Styrenics: Dow hiked ABS, SAN, and ABS 8¢/lb June 1. Lanxess Corp. raised Lustran ABS and SAN, Triax ABS/nylon, and Centrex ASA, AES, and ASA/PC 8¢/lb May 15. BASF hiked Styrolux and Styroclear SBC 4¢/lb May 1.

 

Thermosets & PUR:

Unsaturated polyesters, vinyl esters, and gel coats rose 5¢/lb at all major suppliers between May 25 and June 1. Dow, BASF, and Huntsman hiked MDI 5¢/lb and TDI 10¢/lb on June 1. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-May 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 Prices Went Up  
  6.8 - 7.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI-IMP   160 - 165 Prices Went Up  
  8.4 - 8.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 30% GLASS, FR   190 - 210 Prices Went Up  
  11.2 - 12.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165 Prices Went Up  
  NAd Prices Went Up  
 


 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   78 - 80 Prices Went Up  
  4.0 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   80 - 82     2.6 - 2.7    
 INJECTION   82 - 84     2.7    
 LID RESIN   84 - 86     2.7 - 2.8    
 LINER   79 - 81     2.6 - 2.7    
 CLARITY   78 - 80     2.5 - 2.6    
 EXTRU COATG   83 - 85     2.7    
 BLOW MOLD   85 - 87     2.8    


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   67 - 69     2.3 - 2.4    
 LME 30-DAYj   69 - 71 Prices Went Up  
  2.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   54.9     1.9    
 ROTOMOLD   69 - 71     2.3 - 2.4    


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   72 - 74     2.4 - 2.5    
 LID RESIN   83 - 85     2.7 - 2.8    
 LINER FILM   76 - 78     2.6    


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   69 - 71     2.4    
 FILM   78 - 80     2.6 - 2.7    
 BLOW MOLD   72 - 74     2.4 - 2.5    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   76 - 78     2.6    
 FILM   77 - 79     2.6    
 PIPE   84 - 86     2.8    


 UHMW-PE 

100 - 125   

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   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   58.1 Prices Went Down 
  2.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   81 - 83 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   87 - 88 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   85 - 87 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   86 - 88 Prices Went Up  
  2.7 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   88 - 90 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   96 - 98 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   98 - 100 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.3 Prices Went Up  
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   84 - 89 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 - 3.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI HEAT   87 - 93 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 HIPS   85 - 90 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 SUPER HI IMP   95 - 99 Prices Went Up  
  3.6 - 3.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 FR   103 - 111 Prices Went Up 
  3.9 - 4.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 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   125 - 145     NAd    
 80/20 TDI   135 - 145     NAd    


 PVC RESIN (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P HOMOPOL   50 - 52     NAd    
 PIPE   49     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..