RECYCLED RESIN PRICES
|PET Bottles (Clean)|
Lower crude oil prices in recent weeks were expected to lead to lower virgin resin prices, which should bring down prices of recycled resins as well. But all bets are off until the damage from Hurricane Ike can be assessed.
Recycled PP, PE, and PS were much in demand over the summer and into September. HIPS prices are up about 2¢/lb and crystal PS up 4¢ in the last three months. Said one scrap buyer, “Since manufacturing is down, you’d think the market for recycled plastics would be soft. But with less manufacturing, the scrap supply also is down. We can sell whatever scrap we get—we just can’t find material.”
While housing and automotive markets are slow, the horticultural market for PS has been surprisingly busy. Usually this market is strong during the colder months as manufacturers gear up for the spring season. So the buying is a bit late for 2008 and a little early for 2009. PS scrap buyers could not explain this.
Recycled PET prices remained steady through the summer, with perhaps a penny increase in some markets. Post-consumer PET demand remained extremely strong last month, though it usually slows after Labor Day. Says one reprocessor, “I haven’t seen a change at all, although virgin producers tell me demand is off for them. Ultimately, that’s going to affect recycled resin demand.” Industry sources had no doubt that prices would come down. The question was how much and how soon.
Demand and prices for recycled HDPE are still high. Tabs rose as much as 6¢/lb in some markets. “Right now, we are expecting prices to remain strong through September, but they could start to fall in October, depending on storm damage in Houston,” one reseller said. “Prices have to come down because they were reacting to $138/barrel oil during the summer.” Just when oil prices were starting to come under some control, along came Ike. Now processors have to keep their fingers crossed.