Despite roaring exports and some slight increases in monomer prices, slow domestic demand is keeping a lid on polyolefin and PVC prices for the moment.

Despite roaring exports and some slight increases in monomer prices, slow domestic demand is keeping a lid on polyolefin and PVC prices for the moment. A PS hike was announced by some producers for Oct. 1, but several major players had not chimed in by press time.

 

PE prices holding

Although polyethylene suppliers had not officially delayed either of their two September price hikes (4¢/lb for Sept. 1 and 5¢ for Sept. 15) by the middle of last month, it did not look as though they were being implemented. Suppliers appeared intent on pushing through at least the 4¢ increase, even if only partially or with a one-month delay. Meanwhile, The London Metal Exchange (LME) short-term futures contract for October in blown film butene LLDPE sold at 57.1¢/lb, down from September’s 58.1¢.

Contributing factors: Suppliers are not likely to rescind their increases, which they blame on the high cost of ethylene monomer. August ethylene contracts moved up 1¢ to 48-49¢/lb, and hikes of 2¢ to 3¢ were pending for September. Suppliers’ plant operating rates continued at 95% to 96%, owing largely to export demand. The Plastics Div. of the American Chemistry Council shows domestic PE demand down 1.8% for the first half of 2007 but exports are up 32%.

According to Mike Burns, global PE business director at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas, “In August, people could buy PE resin cheaper in secondary markets for the first time all year. There are also indications that export activity, which has been ridiculously high all year, is slowing down.” He expects that suppliers will be hard-pressed to push through the September increases and notes that some price softening can be expected as we enter the slower end of the year. On the other hand, he cautions, “I don’t expect that we will see the major drop in PE prices that took place in fourth quarter of 2006.” For the time being, RTI advises processors to buy resin only as needed, and watch what happens over the next 30 to 60 days.

 

PP prices flat

Polypropylene prices appeared likely to hold last month, despite the 3¢ increase posted for Sept. 1 by several major suppliers. Meanwhile, LME’s futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer for October sold at 57.4¢/lb, up slightly from September’s 57¢.

Contributing factors: While it’s unlikely that suppliers will rescind their September increase, PP prices were not expected to move last month. PP has been closely tracking propylene monomer prices, which moved up 1.75¢/lb in August, but September contract prices were expected to drop 2.5¢ to 2.75¢/lb.

Lowell Huovinen, RTI’s v.p. of client services, sees demand as the main factor driving PP prices for the rest of the year. “Prices are already too high for processors to pass through to their customers. While this is traditionally a busy time, a lot of processors have idled production because business is slow. When they see monomer prices going down, they expect some resin price relief.”

Huovinen notes that because energy prices are so high, he does not expect PP prices to drop dramatically. Resin plant operating rates continue to be in the low 90% range, thanks mainly to exports. If exports slow significantly, resin suppliers will be holding a lot of inventory, he notes.

 

PVC demand soft

PVC prices were flat as of mid-September, with no price announcements on the horizon. Processor demand turned softer in siding and windows and was expected to weaken further. Only exports were holding resin prices up.

 

PS hike for October

After PS prices slumped 4¢/lb in the last two months, Dow and Total announced a 3¢/lb hike for Oct. 1, but there was no word from other players by mid-September. PS demand was down 5.6% through July, but EPS was up 3.9%.

Meanwhile, the Nova/Ineos joint venture was approved by the Federal Trade Commission Sept. 10 and is expected to go live Oct. 1. Dow and Chevron’s joint venture is expected to be approved soon too, reducing the market to three roughly equal players. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Sep A
 
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 

 ABS 

  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   84 - 95     3.2 - 3.6    
 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   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   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   1200 - 1680     90.7 - 120    
 ETFE   1155 - 1680     70.7 - 102.8    
 FEP   971 - 1470     74.8 - 113.2    
 PFA   1550 - 2520     120 - 195    
 PTFE   450 - 900     34.8 - 69.7    
 PVDF   660 - 1000     49.9 - 75.6    


 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     6.8 - 7.0    
 HI-IMP   160 - 165     8.4 - 8.6    
 30% GLASS, FR   190 - 210     11.2 - 12.5    
 STRUCT FOAM   159 - 165     NAd    


 PET 

  

  
 
 BOTTLE (RAILCAR)   78 - 80     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   137 - 147     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   165 - 180     NAd    
 BIS-A   210 - 220     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   85 - 87     2.8    
 INJECTION   87 - 89     2.8 - 2.9    
 LID RESIN   89 - 91     2.9    
 LINER   84 - 86     2.7 - 2.8    
 CLARITY   83 - 85     2.7    
 EXTRU COATG   88 - 90     2.9    
 BLOW MOLD   90 - 92     2.9 - 3.0    


 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   72 - 74     2.4 - 2.5    
 LME 30-DAYj   57.1 Prices Went Down 
  2.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 FILM   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    
 ROTOMOLD   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    


 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   77 - 79     2.6 - 2.7    
 LID RESIN   88 - 90     2.9 - 3.0    
 LINER FILM   81 - 83     2.7    


 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    
 FILM   83 - 85     2.8    
 BLOW MOLD   84 - 86     2.8    

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   81 - 83     2.7 - 2.8    
 FILM   82 - 84     2.7 - 2.8    
 PIPE   89 - 91     2.9    


 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   84 - 86     2.6 - 2.7    
 LME 30-DAYj   57.4 Prices Went Up  
  1.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   83 - 85     2.6 - 2.7    
 PROFILES   87 - 89     2.8 - 2.9    
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   88 - 90     2.8 - 2.9    
 FILM   88 - 90     2.8 - 2.9    
 INJECTION   87 - 89     2.8 - 2.9    
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   98     3.2 - 3.3    
 HI IMP   100 - 102     3.3    


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   83 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  3.1 - 3.3 Prices Went Down 
 
 HI HEAT   86 - 92 Prices Went Down 
  3.2 - 3.4 Prices Went Down 
 
 HIPS   84 - 89 Prices Went Down 
  3.1 - 3.3 Prices Went Down 
 
 SUPER HI IMP   94 - 98 Prices Went Down 
  3.5 - 3.7 Prices Went Down 
 
 FR   99 - 107 Prices Went Down 
  3.7 - 4.0 Prices Went Down 
 
 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   54 - 56     NAd    
 PIPE   53     NAd    
 FILM   59 - 62     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) 

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          
 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..