Most commodity resin prices —except for PP—took a breather in August, though some hikes were pending for September.

Most commodity resin prices —except for PP—took a breather in August, though some hikes were pending for September. But some industry observers think polyolefin prices could be at or near a peak.

 

Suppliers push PE hikes

Polyethylene prices held even last month, despite suppliers’ efforts to push through a 4¢/lb hike. Some producers delayed the hike to September, and Nova and Equistar issued a new 5¢ increase for Sept. 15. The London Metal Exchange (LME) North American short-term futures contract for September in butene LLDPE for blown film sold at 58.1¢/lb, up from August’s 55.3¢.

Contributing factors: “Keep an eye on ethylene monomer” is the advice of Cindy Bryan, director of market research at resin-purchasing consultant Resin Technology Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas. July monomer contract prices rose 2.5¢/lb to a high of 48.5¢. Increases of 1¢ to 3¢ were on the table for August. Says Mike Burns, RTI’s global business director for PE, “We see ethylene and polyethylene resin prices approaching a market peak. Right now, I don’t think that we’ll see ethylene contract prices or PE resin prices moving up much more. But this could change if there were an upsurge in exports or any production disruptions.”

While resin exports have been strong, domestic demand is hard to gauge. By August, there appeared to be a slight improvement in areas such as film, but this was attributed largely to prebuying in anticipation of a price hike this month.

 

PP prices up

Polypropylene prices moved up 3¢/lb in July and August as suppliers aimed to implement 4¢/lb increases. Basell issued a new 3¢ increase for Sept. 1. Meanwhile, LME’s September North American futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer sold at 57¢/lb, down from 58.74¢ for August.

Contributing factors: Domestic demand grew a little less than 1% through June. RTI managing partner Scott Newell says industry statistics now include Mexico—otherwise they might show flat or negative growth for the first half. However, exports have kept suppliers very busy. Despite a drop in exports to China, buyers in Latin America, Europe, and Africa have taken up the slack.

Propylene monomer contract prices hit a record high in August due to supply problems. Monomer rose 1¢ in July and 1.75¢/lb in August. Says RTI’s Newell, “We think August may be the peak for prices of monomer and PP. We saw monomer spot prices drop lower than contract prices, which is a strong sign, and there is evidence of monomer inventories increasing.” He attributes that to resolution of earlier production problems and to a drop in gasoline prices, which makes more propylene available for PP.

 

PET prices holding

PET prices have held firm since an increase of 2¢/lb in May, despite a failed attempt to raise prices another 4¢/lb. Looming overcapacity prevented PET suppliers from raising prices during the summer. “Feedstock prices have gone up more than PET resin prices over several months,” complained one major producer. Despite new capacity coming on stream, domestic demand continues to grow at around 6% to 7%/yr, consuming an additional 500 million lb per year. Also, export volumes, particularly to South America, have been robust. Resin plant utilization rates are still said to be in the high-80% to low-90% range.

But more new capacity has been announced by two suppliers. M&G will build a new PET plant at a still undisclosed U.S. location. Two-thirds of the planned 1.8-billion-lb capacity will come on stream in the first half of 2009. M&G also plans to debottleneck PET capacity at plants in West Virginia and Mexico, which is expected to add an additional 440 million lb of capacity by 2008. And as reported in May, Indonesia’s Indorama Polymers plans to build a second U.S. PET plant for its StarPet subsidiary. The 650-million-lb plant is scheduled for start-up in late 2008.

 

PVC hike stalls

Georgia Gulf and OxyChem announced 3¢/lb increases on PVC resins for Sept. 1, but Shintech reportedly told customers it won’t follow suit, so prices aren’t expected to move this month.

 

PS prices moderate

PS prices slipped 2¢ to 3¢/lb since June. Demand was still relatively good in mid-August, but feedstock prices were softening. Contract benzene for August was $3.59/gal. Spot prices dropped 20¢ to 30¢, so contract benzene in September is expected to be about 20¢ lower. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-Aug 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   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   147 - 152     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   175 - 185     NAd    
 BIS-A   220 - 225     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   74 - 76     2.5 - 2.6    
 FILM   58.1 Prices Went Up  
  2.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 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 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   57 Prices Went Down 
  1.9 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   83 - 85 Prices Went Up  
  2.6 - 2.7 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   87 - 89 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   88 - 90 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   88 - 90 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   87 - 89 Prices Went Up  
  2.8 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   98 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   100 - 102 Prices Went Up 
  3.3 Prices Went Up  
 


 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   87 - 93     3.3 - 3.5    
 HI HEAT   90 - 96     3.4 - 3.6    
 HIPS   88 - 93     3.3 - 3.5    
 SUPER HI IMP   98 - 102     3.7 - 3.8    
 FR   103 - 111     3.9 - 4.2    
 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   228 - 240     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   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..