Commodity resin producers keep pushing for price increases, but their success is limited by weak market demand and soft prices of many monomers.

Commodity resin producers keep pushing for price increases, but their success is limited by weak market demand and soft prices of many monomers. PET prices may rise, however, along with those of engineering resins and thermosets.

 

PE PRICES STABLE

Polyethylene prices were largely flat in March, after a drop in February that shaved off 3¢ of the 9¢/lb increases suppliers have implemented since last October. Also, a 6¢/lb hike was delayed from March to April 1. Meanwhile, the London Metal Exchange (LME) North American futures contract for May in blown film butene LLDPE rose to 67.6¢/lb from April’s 65.7¢.

Contributing factors: Softening monomer prices will make it difficult for resin suppliers to implement price hikes, predicts Mike Burns, global business director for PE at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI) in Fort Worth, Texas. He says March ethylene monomer contract prices moved up from 58.5¢ to 61.5¢/lb, a result of planned and unplanned plant outages that drove up spot ethylene prices. By mid-April, however, ethylene spot prices had dropped below 55¢/lb, according to Burns. At that point, unsettled April ethylene contract price bids ranged from 52¢ to 58.5¢/lb. “May contract prices could move even lower, possibly to under 50¢/lb,” he said. Ethylene comes from ethane, which had been tracking crude oil prices to a high of $1.17/lb in January. Now ethane appears to have stopped following oil prices and has leveled off at 94¢ to 97¢/lb.

Demand for PE is flat overall, except for food packaging and agricultural films. PE exports are also down, primarily due to container shipping congestion at eastern U.S. seaports.

 

PP PRICES UP

Polypropylene prices moved up in March by 1 to 2¢/lb, as a result of 2¢ increases that were slated for February. A new 5¢ increase emerged for April 1. The May LME North American short-term futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer sold for 68.9¢/lb, a half-cent uptick from April.

Contributing factors: Since January, suppliers have raised prices by 2¢ to 4¢/lb, although they had aimed for increases totaling 9¢/lb. The latest hike is tied directly to feedstock prices. March propylene contracts moved up 2¢/lb and April contracts settled early on an increase of 3.5¢/lb.

Driving monomer prices, which hit a new record of 65¢/lb with the April increase, is a significant drawdown of propylene supplies as a result of planned and unplanned refinery shutdowns. Says Scott Newell, RTI’s director of client services for PP, “We think the monomer supply will improve over the next two months.” Newell also notes that rising monomer prices and port congestion have slowed resin exports.

Export and domestic demand was down by 3% overall in the first quarter. “Except for a couple of markets like food and consumer packaging, everything is slow,” says Newell. PP suppliers curtailed plant operating rates, now estimated to be in the 80-85% range vs. around 95% for much of last year. Some industry sources do not believe suppliers will be able to get the full 5¢ increase, noting that even the 2¢/lb March hike was trimmed back.

 

PET PRICES RISING?

PET prices are expected to move up in the second quarter. In mid-April, suppliers were aiming to implement 5¢/lb price hikes, but any movement was more likely to show up in May.

Contributing factors: The new resin increases are driven by increased costs of paraxylene and ethylene glycol. “Processors can expect to see higher prices in the second quarter,” stated RTI’s PET global business director Mike Dewsbury. “I don’t believe resin producers will add anything to their profit margins, though I’m sure they’ll try. They must pass through any increases in feedstock costs to stay afloat.”

Although PET dropped 2.5 to 3¢/lb by the end of February, it was largely due to the 6¢ decline in ethylene glycol prices. Contract prices for feedstocks were unsettled in mid-April, but increases of 4¢ to 4.5¢/lb were being sought for paraxylene and 1¢ to 2¢/lb for ethylene glycol. Together they would translate into increases of at least 2-3¢ for PET.
Demand for PET in the first quarter was estimated to be flat, though some seasonal uptick appeared at the start of the second quarter.

 

PVC DEMAND WEAKER

A pair of 2¢ hikes was announced for January and February, but the second hike was delayed to March by Formosa and OxyChem, where it hangs in limbo. March PVC prices were expected to be flat.

Contributing factors: Ethylene monomer price dipped 3¢ in February, rose 3¢ in March, and was expected to be flat or off 2¢ again in April, which explains why PVC prices aren’t moving. Resin demand remains very weak in home construction and renovation. Commercial construction is reportedly flat. Georgia Gulf idled its Oklahoma City plant along with one idled earlier in Sarnia, Ont., taking a total of 1 billion lb temporarily out of the market. Shintech’s new 300-million-lb plant is expected to start up in June.

 

PS PAUSES AFTER 7¢ CLIMB

PS resin producers put together a combined 7¢/lb in increases from February through April. Most got 2¢ in February and 3¢ or 5¢ in March. Activity in April is expected to be flat.

Contributing factors: PS demand was way down in March and preliminary figures for the first quarter were down 5.3% from the same period last year. But seasonal demand appeared to be coming back in April. Benzene prices softened in April, when contracts settled at $3.75/gal.

 

NYLON, PBT & THERMOSETS

More price increases for nylon and PBT followed BASF’s lead in March. DSM hiked nylon 6 and 66 by 15¢/lb on March 31. Solutia raised tabs on nylon 66 by 10¢/lb on April 15. Du Pont’s increase was 12¢/lb, effective May 1.

DSM also raised PBT prices 15¢/lb on March 31. Du Pont increased PBT, PET, Thermx high-performance polyesters, and Hytrel copolyester TPEs by 10¢ on May 1.

Following AOC and Reichhold’s unsaturated polyester/vinyl ester increases of 7¢/lb last month, CCP and Interplastic announced similar hikes for April 28 and May 1, respectively. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Apr 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 
  3.9 
 
 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   147 - 157     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   175 - 190     NAd    
 BIS-A   210 - 230     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     2.5 - 2.6    
 INJECTION   77 - 79     2.6    
 LID RESIN   79 - 81     2.6    
 LINER   74 - 76     2.5    
 CLARITY   73 - 75     2.4 - 2.5    
 EXTRU COATG   78 - 80     2.6    
 BLOW MOLD   80 - 81     2.6    


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   72 - 74     2.4    
 LME 30-DAYj   67.6 Prices Went Up  
  2.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   77 - 79     2.6    
 ROTOMOLD   74 - 76     2.4 - 2.5    


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

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


 HDPE 

  

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

 HMW-HDPE 

  

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


 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   79 - 81 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 - 2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   68.9   Prices Went Up  2.3   Prices Went Up 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   77 - 79 Prices Went Up  
  2.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   82 - 84 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   93 - 95 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   95 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   91 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI HEAT   94 - 100 Prices Went Up  
  3.7 - 3.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 HIPS   92 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.6 Prices Went Up  
 
 SUPER HI IMP   101 - 106 Prices Went Up 
  3.8 - 4.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 FR   107 - 113 Prices Went Up 
  4.0 - 4.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 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   223 - 240     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   248 - 253     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..