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Price for PE Flat PP Moving Up PS PVC PET Flat-to-Down
Yangzhou Chengsen Plastics Co.,Ltd | Updated: Jan 24, 2018

PE PRICES FLAT

Polyethylene prices remained flat through June, following a price reduction of generally 3¢/lb by some suppliers, according to Mike Burns, RTi’s v.p. of client services for PE. Suppliers were out with a 3¢/lb hike for July, but Burns expected all PE prices to remain flat through July and August, noting that a PE price change in the July-August time frame took place just once in a span of 10 years.

Both Burns and PCW characterized export markets as quiet, partly due to lack of material and slowed demand. Interestingly, PE suppliers have been running plants in the high 80s-to-low-90s%, versus mid-to-high 90s during the last few years.

PP PRICE FLAT-TO-UP

Polypropylene prices were flat in June, in step with propylene monomer, which rolled over from May at 38.5¢/lb, However, production disruptions at two PDH on-purpose propylene units resulted in monomer tightness. July monomer contract nominations stood at 2-3¢/lb and PP suppliers were poised to issue similar resin price hikes, according to Scott Newell, RTi’s v.p. of PP markets.

Burns noted that LBI issued a price increase expansion margin of 3¢ on top of the monomer increase, effective this month, but there was no further industry support. The Plastics Exchange’s Greenberg reported, “We believe the market is now settling up for another series of margin expanding increases ahead, though the success would not be an automatic slam dunk.” Factors that could influence this trend is the slow but steady demand in downstream demand with no new resin production complexes on the near horizon—essentially tipping supply/ demand in favor of PP suppliers.

Demand for PP was very good in May and June, following the drop in prices--a total of 13.5¢/lb in April/May time frame, so buyers were stocking up, according to Newell. Unplanned production outages for both PP and PP impact copolymer tightened things up.

PS PRICES FLAT

Polystyrene prices remained flat in June, following a cumulative 7¢/lb drop in the two previous months, and due to a rollover in benzene contract prices, according to Mark Kallman, RTi’s v.p. of client services for engineering resins, PS, and PVC.PCW reported spot PS prices were flat-to-lower amid seasonally slower demand. Spot styrene monomer at end of June, ended up down by 9%. Spot benzene slid nearly 20 ¢/gal. Kallman ventured that July benzene contract prices would settled down 10-20¢/gal. This could trans- late to a July decrease of 1-2¢/lb for PS resins.

Meanwhile, PCW reported that spot prime general-purpose PS remained flat while generic prime HIPS was down 1¢/ lb as global butadiene prices plunged. Kallman concedes that there is an “unusual” pressure from imports—more specifically, for prime HIPS imports from the Far East and Brazil, which are coming into port at 64¢/lb. Following repackaging and transport, that price moves up by 10¢/lb but is still attractively priced compared to domestic prime HIPS.

PVC PRICES FLAT-TO-DOWN

PVC prices remained flat in June, but and had good potential for dropping between 1-2¢/lb in the July-August timeframe, according to RTi’s Kallman. This driven primarily by ample supplies of ethylene and lower spot prices through June, which would result in lower July ethylene contract settlements, as well as lower crude oil prices.

Meanwhile, domestic demand for PVC through May, was up 2% year-to-date. PVC production has recovered to January levels, so suppliers’ inventories are in much better shape. For now, exports are flat-to-down.

PET PRICES DOWN

Domestic bottle-grade prime PET prices in June averaged 55.5¢/lb, down 2.2¢/lb from May, based on PCW’s Daily PET Report. That price represents PET business on a delivered Chicago basis. The price on June 30, dropped to 54¢/lb, driven primarily by lower costs of raw materials PTA, MEG and PX.

Meanwhile, prices of imported prime PET, with an IV of 78 ml/gram or higher, also fell in June, averaging 51.4¢/lb, down 2.5¢ from May. This represented PET resin on a delivered duty-paid U.S. port basis. The price for imported PET on June 30, was 53.5¢/lb. PET feedstock costs in June averaged 50.5¢/lb, down 1.31c/lb from May, according to a calculation used to price prime PET for monthly invoicing by resin suppliers and distributors supplying domestic end users.


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