Commodity resin prices were still rising last month, and still more hikes were pending, but market resistance was building.

Commodity resin prices were still rising last month, and still more hikes were pending, but market resistance was building. The reasons were continued soft demand, slowing exports, and—most critical—slipping monomer and feedstock prices. Futures prices for PE and PP dropped significantly.

 

PE PRICES PEAKING?

Polyethylene prices moved up 7¢/lb as suppliers fully implemented their July increases. This brought the total increase in PE prices this year to 18¢/lb. Further hikes not yet implemented at press time included 8¢ effective Aug. 1 and 5¢ for Sept. 1. Meanwhile, the London Metal Exchange (LME) North American short-term futures contract for September in blown film butene LLDPE was 75¢/lb, down from August’s 79.5¢/lb.

Contributing factors: A drop in oil prices brought signs of weakness in ethylene monomer tabs. Contract prices for ethylene saw a 5¢/lb increase for June and 4¢ more for July. But spot ethylene prices have dropped steadily. By early August, nearly 30¢ differential emerged between contract prices and spot prices as low as 45¢/lb. This should lead to lower contract prices, said Mike Burns, global business director for PE at resin purchasing consultant Resin Technology, Inc. (RTI), Fort Worth, Texas.

On the other hand, PE resin supply has been tight despite slack domestic demand. While domestic sales through June 2008 were down 5.5%, total sales were down less than 1%, thanks to strong exports. But by mid-August, global demand was starting to soften. Said RTI’s Burns, “I think the 8¢ August PE increase will be pushed back to September unless there is a spike in oil and ethylene prices.” A major PE supplier replies, “Global export demand has softened, but we expect China will be back in the game after the Olympics.”

 

PP PRICES MAY SOFTEN

Polypropylene prices moved up 11¢/lb in July, in partial implementation of announced hikes of 17¢, which included a 2¢ surcharge for transportation and utility costs. Total increases in 2008 through July come to 26¢/lb, out of overall increases of 45¢ since Jan. 2007. Meanwhile, a new 6¢ increase was announced for Aug. 1. The LME North American short-term futures contract for g-p injection-grade homopolymer in September was 77¢/lb, down from August’s startling 91.2¢.

Contributing factors: A gradual shift in market conditions is starting to favor PP buyers, according to Scott Newell, director of client services for PP at RTI. Not only is overall demand (domestic and export) down 6% to 7% through June, but resin supply appears looser. Most industry sources see little chance that the latest 6¢ hike will take effect. Says one source, “We are starting to see resin suppliers courting processors and deals trading at lower prices.”
The explanation is the recent dip in propylene monomer prices. Propylene supply is no longer as tight, spot prices have come down by as much as 10¢/lb, and contract prices are likely to follow. Newell expected monomer prices to be flat or down 2¢ to 3¢ in August. But September may see a sizeable drop, following the spot market trend, he said.

 

PET PRICES UP FOR NOW

PET prices moved up nearly 7¢/lb as suppliers implemented their July hikes. This brought the total increases this year to 15¢ to 17¢/lb. Price increases of 7¢ to 10¢ were pending from Aug. 1.

Contributing factors: Recent drops in feedstock and energy costs won’t help resin suppliers’ push for higher prices. Global prices of paraxylene, PTA, and ethylene glycol precursors all dropped significantly by the end of July, explains Michael Dewsbury, PET global business director at RTI. If anything, says Dewsbury, PET tabs could drop 5¢ to 10¢/lb.

 

PVC HIKE SPLIT IN TWO

PVC resin producers sent letters to customers in mid-August implementing 4¢ of the 8¢ increase announced for July 1, and stating that the other 4¢ would be effective Aug. 1. There appeared to be little resistance to the first 4¢, but there was opposition to the second. As one processor noted, “Every railcar is being negotiated.” Processors don’t expect the second 4¢ to stick.

Contributing factors: Spot ethylene was below 60¢/lb in mid-August while contract monomer was 75.5¢ and expected to drop a nickel. Demand was also softening.

 

PS UP 4¢ MORE

Defying gravity, PS producers asked for a 4¢ increase on both GPPS and HIPS for Aug. 1, deferred from July 15. America’s Styrenics and Ineos/Nova also announced new hikes of 4¢ on crystal and 5¢ on HIPS for Sept. 1. Total was still on the sidelines in mid-August.

The mid-July increases widened the spread between GPPS and HIPS to 6¢ from 4¢ in July and 2¢ on average before that, largely because of the worldwide tightness of butadiene rubber.

Meanwhile, EPS producers all announced 5¢ hikes for Aug. 1. Nova announced another 5¢ for Sept. 1, though BASF and Flint Hills (formerly Huntsman) posted 3¢ hikes for that date.

Contributing factors: Contract benzene was still high at $4.45/gal in August, up from $4.16 in July—hence the lack of resistance to the August PS hike. But spot benzene was only $4.15 to $4.20 and September prices are a dime lower still. So processors feel the September PS increase isn’t justified.

 

MORE PRICE INCREASES

Ticona, the sole North American producer of UHMW-PE, implemented two price increases in mid-June and August. Prices are now $1.22 to $1.52/lb, up from $1.00 to $1.25.

Ticona also raised prices 15% on July 31 for acetal, PBT, PET, polyester TPE, and Celstran long-glass compounds. DuPont boosted nylon prices 29¢/lb on Sept. 1. Zytel HTN nylons and PPAs went up 15¢, and acetal 15¢, while PBT, PET and Hytrel polyester TPE rose 12¢/lb. LCP and other specialties went up even more. Solutia hiked nylon 66 10% on Sept. 1. And on July 28, Rhodia imposed a “temporary surcharge” of about 3.6¢/lb on nylon 66 to compensate for the worldwide shortage of butadiene.

Evalca hiked Eval EVOH barrier resins by 45¢/lb on Sept. 1.

BASF lifted tabs on Styrolux and Styroclear styrenic block copolymers (SBCs) by 6¢/lb on Aug. 1. Kraton Polymers said its entire Kraton SBC line would go up “at least” 15¢ on Sept. 1. 

 

Market Prices Effective Mid-August A

 
 
 RESIN GRADEb¢/LB¢/CU INc 

 ABS 

  

  
 
 MED IMPACT   95 - 115     359 - 434    
 HI IMPACT   100 - 135     378 - 510    
 X-HI IMPACT   110 - 150     415 - 567    
 HI HEAT   95 - 130     359 - 491    
 PIPE   95 - 105     359 - 396    
 SHEET   99 - 115     374 - 434    
 TRANSPARENT   134 - 205     506 - 774    
 FITTINGS   94 - 115     374 - 434    
 PLATING   134 - 205     506 - 774    
 FLAME RET   129 - 145     487 - 548    
 STRUCT FM   92 - 102     347 - 385    
 10% GLASS   134 - 145     506 - 548    
 30% GLASS   129 - 141     487    
 ABS/PC ALLOY   154 - 185     532 - 699    
 ABS/PVC ALLOY   139 - 144     525 - 544    
 ABS/NYLON ALLOY   199 - 355     752 - 1341    

 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   730 - 1100     47 - 70    

 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   650 - 750     24.3 - 28    
 30% GLASS   NAd - NAd     NAd - NAd    
 40% GLASS   NAd - NAd     NAd - NAd    
 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)   91 - 93 Prices Went Up  
  4.6 - 4.7 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    

 POLYESTER THERMOSET 

  

  
 
 G-P ORTHO   154 - 164     NAd    
 ISOPHTHALIC   183 - 198     NAd    
 BIS-A   218 - 238     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   93 - 95 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   95 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 - 3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 LID RESIN   97 - 99 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 LINER   95 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 - 3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 CLARITY   91 - 93 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 EXTRU COATG   96 - 98 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 BLOW MOLD   98 - 100 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.3 Prices Went Up  
 

 LLDPE, BUTENE BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   90 - 92 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   95 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 - 3.2 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   75 Prices Went Down 
  2.3 Prices Went Down 
 
 ROTOMOLD   92 - 94 Prices Went Up  
  3.0 - 3.1 Prices Went Up  
 

 LLDPE, HAO-BASED 

  

  
 
 G-P MOLDING   93 - 95 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 LID RESIN   103 - 105 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 LINER FILM   96 - 98 Prices Went Up  
  3.2 Prices Went Up  
 

 HDPE 

  

  
 
 G-P INJ MOLD   90 - 92 Prices Went Up  
  3.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   100 - 102 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 BLOW MOLD   100 - 102 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.5 Prices Went Up  
 

 HMW-HDPE 

  

  
 
 BLOW MOLDING   97 - 99 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 3.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   98 - 100 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 PIPE   105 - 107 Prices Went Up  
  3.6 - 3.7 Prices Went Up  
 

 UHMW-PE 

122 - 152 Prices Went Up  

4.1 - 5.1 Prices Went Up  
 

 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   103 - 105 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 3.4 Prices Went Up  
 
 LME 30-DAYj   77.0 Prices Went Down 
  2.5 Prices Went Down 
 
 EXTRUSION FIBER   101 - 103 Prices Went Up  
  3.3 - 2.8 Prices Went Up  
 
 PROFILES   108 - 97 Prices Went Up  
  3.5 - 2.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 RANDOM COPOL          
 BLOW MOLDING   107 - 109 Prices Went Up  
  3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 FILM   107 - 108 Prices Went Up  
  3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 INJECTION   106 - 108 Prices Went Up  
  3.4 - 3.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 IMPACT COPOL          
 MED IMP   117 - 119 Prices Went Up  
  3.8 - 3.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI IMP   119 - 121 Prices Went Up  
  3.9 Prices Went Up  
 

 POLYSTYRENE (RAILCAR) 

  

  
 
 G-P CRYSTAL   98 - 104 Prices Went Up  
  3.7 - 3.9 Prices Went Up  
 
 HI HEAT   101 - 107 Prices Went Up  
  3.8 - 4.0 Prices Went Up  
 
 HIPS   103 - 109 Prices Went Up  
  3.9 - 4.1 Prices Went Up  
 
 SUPER HI IMP   109 - 115 Prices Went Up  
  4.1 - 4.3 Prices Went Up  
 
 FR   115 - 121 Prices Went Up  
  4.3 - 4.5 Prices Went Up  
 
 STRUCT FM (FR)   105 - 108     NA    

 EPS 

  

  
 
 UNMODIFIED   95 - 98 Prices Went Up  
  NAd    
 MODIFIED   96 - 100 Prices Went Up  
  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   61 - 63     NAd    
 PIPE 60  NAd    
 FILM   66 - 68     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   231 - 248     NAd    
 HEAT & COR RES   256 - 261     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..