More hikes fail, a few succeed.
PET PRICE HIKE FAILS
An attempt to raise prices of PET bottle resins by 3|cents~/lb April 1, launched in early March by leading domestic supplier Eastman Chemical Co., failed due to lack of industry support. Only ICI Americas officially seconded Eastman's move. Eastman decided to rescind the increase, and a key company source said he did not foresee another attempt any time soon.
Both Eastman and ICI maintain that current market conditions favor a price increase: supplies are tight as demand continues to strengthen. And there are some "rumblings in the industry" of upward pressure from PET resin feedstock prices to come in the third or fourth quarter.
PP INCREASE STYMIED
Polypropylene prices are soft, despite strong domestic demand. Suppliers say the last industrywide price initiative of 2|cents~/lb, which was to take effect Jan. 1, never materialized. "We were able to push prices up in some cases in January," reports one supplier. "For example in PP fiber, we got 1|cent~ of that 2|cents~/lb increase. Then, by mid-February, some PP producers rescinded that increase, and prices fell back to December levels."
Nonetheless, suppliers describe domestic demand for PP in the first quarter as "robust." Some expect market growth of as much as 5-6% this year. But doubts about export markets appear to be restraining any aggressive moves on domestic prices. Some industry analysts warn of possible export declines of as much as 38% this year, the result of new PP capacity abroad, particularly in Korea and Taiwan.
Sinking prices of propylene monomer haven't helped resin producers' case, either, but some industry analysts project a rebound in propylene prices during the second half.
PRICE GIVEBACKS IN PS
Polystyrene prices softened in the first quarter, under the influence of declining styrene monomer prices and slow demand. Suppliers concede that they gave back in the first quarter whatever gains they had made with a 3|cents~/lb increase in the fourth quarter of '91. Erosion was most pronounced in the high-volume grades, such as sheet extrusion.
NEW MOVE AFOOT IN PVC
A new effort to raise prices of PVC resins by 2|cents~/lb on March 1, led by leading supplier Occidental Chemical, began in late February. It was the second such move by PVC suppliers this year. The first one, also for 2|cents~/lb, had industrywide support but only partial success. Suppliers are optimistic about the latest move--which has officially enlisted OxyChem, Vista, Georgia Gulf, and Borden. BFGoodrich had already announced a 3|cents~ increase for March 1 back in January.
Suppliers see market conditions in their favor. Says one, "We are currently on sales control as a result of continued strong demand, and price erosion has to come to a halt. We expect to be successful in implementing these increases." At press time, one industry analyst agreed that they would get their full 2|cents~ by April 1. Said one supplier, "I see prices for pipe and siding resins, which have been selling as low as 24-25|cents~/lb, firming up to 26-27|cents~/lb in March, then going up to 27-28|cents~/lb in April."
WATCH OUT FOR EPOXY PRICES
Ciba-Geigy issued a selling-price increase of 4|cents~/lb for liquid, solution, solid and modified grades of Araldite epoxy resins. This effort to eliminate off-list discounts was effective March 15 for noncontract customers and April 15 for contract customers. Shell Chemical followed suit (with somewhat different timing), and Dow Plastics reportedly joined in, but this could not be confirmed at press time.
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|Title Annotation:||prices of plastics and polymers|
|Author:||Sherman, Lilli Manolis|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1992|
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