Polyolefin prices were poised to rise again this month as suppliers aimed to implement a series of price hikes.

Polyolefin prices were poised to rise again this month as suppliers aimed to implement a series of price hikes. Industry observers attribute the pricing rebound, after recent softness, to increased energy and feedstock costs and steady demand in both domestic and export markets.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) has revised its plastics contracts in an effort to boost trading activity in this new kind of commodity futures, which LME admits has not gained the traction that was hoped for when first launched in May 2005. The somewhat lackluster response is attributed to both the lack of sufficiently frequent contract settlement dates to reflect the physical spot market and to the lack of regional, as opposed to global, pricing for LLDPE and PP.

Based on this industry feedback, LME plans to make several changes effective June 25. There will be six new regional plastics contracts for both PP and LLDPE. There will be separate contracts for European, North American, and Asian deliveries, in addition to the two existing global contracts for PP and LLDPE. In addition, the LME will introduce more frequent short-term contracts (as opposed to every third week now) to make spot trading possible.

 

PE prices up

Polyethylene prices were expected to move up last month as suppliers aimed to push through their Jan. 1 price hikes of 6¢/lb. A second price increase of 7¢, originally slated for mid-January, has been pushed back to March 1. Some industry sources expect these hikes to take effect incrementally rather than all at once. “We might see the first 3¢/lb implemented by the end of February and the other 3¢ in March. This means that the 7¢/lb increase will most likely be pushed back again,” says Cindy Bryan, director of marketing at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas. Meanwhile, the LME short-term futures contract for March in g-p blown film butene LLDPE sold at 51¢/lb, up from January’s 50.3¢.

Contributing factors: Ethylene monomer contract prices in January settled at 39.5¢/lb, a drop of 2¢ after a 3¢ drop in December. However, at press time, monomer contracts looked set to climb 3¢/lb in February and another 2¢ to 3¢ in March. Spot ethylene prices are reported to have surged to 36.5¢/lb, after having dropped under 32¢ earlier.
While not stellar, PE resin demand remains steady, and suppliers predict improvement in the second quarter. While plant operating rates are still generally in the vicinity of 85%, some industry sources see the potential for the year to average out at 90% to 92% capacity utilization.

 

PP prices poised to rise

Polypropylene prices are expected to move up as suppliers try to push through February’s 5¢ increases. Resin tabs rose 2¢ to 3¢/lb in January. Meanwhile, the LME March futures contract for g-p injection grade homopolymer sold at 52.2¢/lb, up from February’s 50.3¢.

Contributing factors: January propylene monomer contract prices moved up 2.25¢ to 2.5¢/lb. At press time, February monomer contracts were on the way up another 2¢ to 2.5¢/lb. PE suppliers maintain that demand has been growing steadily and they expect plant operating rates to average even higher than the 90% to 95% range seen in 2006.

 

PVC hike announced

Georgia Gulf led a 3¢/lb increase on PVC resin for March 1. It was followed by Occidental, Formosa, Shintech, and Westlake. Formosa announced a further 3¢/lb increase for Apr. 1. Resin prices eroded 2¢ to 3¢/lb in January but are expected to be flat in February.

Contributing factors: PVC demand improved somewhat in January, but remained spotty last month. Large municipal pipe is strong, while electrical conduit and siding, closely dependent on housing starts, are weak.

 

PS goes up and down

Polystyrene prices continue their yo-yo movement: down 3¢ in December, up 3¢ cents in January, then down 2¢ to 3¢ cents in February—leaving prices flat since December. Dow, Total, Nova and Ineos have all announced 4¢ hikes for March 1, replacing their previously delayed hikes from Jan. 15. EPS bead producers say they are partially implementing their previously announced 4¢/lb hikes for Feb. 1.

PS demand was sluggish last month, though natural gas and benzene prices were firming with the cold weather.

 

Polycarbonate & alloys up

Dow Plastics boosted tabs on PC resins, compounds, and blends by 12¢/lb, effective March 15. A Dow spokesman said PC prices have been in a “consistent slide,” but its energy and feedstock costs are on the rise. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Feb 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   143 - 150     6.9    
 HI-IMP   156 - 167     19.6 - 21    
 30% GLASS, FR   185 - 207     11.9    
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165     NAd    


 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   78 - 80     3.9 - 4.0    
 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 - 81     2.6 - 2.7    
 INJECTION   80 - 82     2.7    
 LID RESIN   82 - 84     2.7 - 2.8    
 LINER   76 - 78     2.5 - 2.6    
 CLARITY   75 - 77     2.5 - 2.6    
 EXTRU COATG   79 - 81     2.6 - 2.7    
 BLOW MOLD   82 - 84     2.7 - 2.8    


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   65 - 67     2.2 - 2.3    
 LME 30-DAYj   51 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   67 - 69     2.3 - 2.4    
 ROTOMOLD   69 - 71     2.3 - 2.4    


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   70 - 72     2.4    
 LID RESIN   80 - 82     2.7    
 LINER FILM   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   67 - 69     2.4    
 FILM   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    
 BLOW MOLD   70 - 72     2.4 - 2.5    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    
 FILM   73 - 75     2.5    
 PIPE   81 - 83     2.7 - 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   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   77 - 79     2.6    
 LME 30-DAYj   52.2 Prices Went Up  
  1.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   72 - 74     2.4    
 PROFILES   81 - 83     2.6 - 2.7    
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   81 - 83     2.6 - 2.7    
 FILM   79 - 81     2.6    
 INJECTION   78 - 80     2.6    
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   90 - 92     3.0    
 HI IMP   93 - 95     3.1    


 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..