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New price hikes for PE, PET.

Just as the last wave of increases took effect, PE suppliers announced they will raise prices another 3-4|cents~/lb as of the first of August. The supply/demand situation, as well as higher raw materials costs and slimmer profit margins, are blamed.

Following a failed attempt to raise prices in the second quarter, PET suppliers are trying again--but this time in a move supported industrywide. Look for price increases of 3-4|cents~/lb.


Virtually all PE suppliers have called for August 1 price increases, generally of 4|cents~/lb for L/LLDPE and 3|cents~/lb for HDPE. The move appears to have been led by Quantum Chemical, which issued increases of 3|cents~/lb across the board on all of its L/LLDPE resins. Soon after, several other major players--including Dow Chemical, Union Carbide, Novacor Chemical, Mobil Chemical and Exxon Chemical--issued increases of 4|cents~/lb across the board on L/LLDPE and HDPE. Chevron Chemical issued price hikes of 4|cents~/lb on L/LLDPE and 3|cents~/lb on HDPE. Quantum Chemical later extended its original move to include a 4|cents~/lb increase on HDPE resins.

LDPE suppliers Eastman Chemical, Westlake Polymers and Rexene Corp. each issued increases of 4|cents~/lb on their resins. HDPE players Phillips 66, Occidental Chemical, Solvay Polymers, Paxon Polymers (the HDPE joint venture of Allied-Signal Corp. and Exxon) and Hoechst Celanese (which is selling its HDPE business to Fina Oil & Chemical--see PT, May '92, p. 84) each issued price hikes of 3|cents~/lb on their resins.

Industry sources maintain that supply/demand has tightened considerably for LDPE and is now described by one source as "snugger" for LLDPE. Despite the perception of overcapacity for HDPE, suppliers of these resins maintain that demand has been good, feedstock costs have been moving up, and profit margins have been off.

As reported last month (p. 91), suppliers were successful in implementing earlier industrywide increases of 4|cents~/lb on LDPE resins and 3|cents~/lb on LLDPE. Though lagging behind, HDPE prices looked as if they were moving up at press time as a result of the earlier increases--just in time for the new round.


A price move for PET resins led by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s Polyester Div. quickly gained industrywide support. Goodyear called for a 4|cents~/lb across-the-board increase on all of its bottle/packaging PET resin grades, effective July 5.

Soon after, leading domestic PET supplier Eastman Chemical announced it will raise prices of PET bottle-grade resins 3|cents~/lb, with the exception of its 9921 PET copolymer for refillable bottles, which will go up 4|cents~/lb. Effective date was July 15. (Goodyear, thereafter, amended its increase to 3|cents~/lb with a July 15 effective date.)

Other major players ICI Americas and Hoechst Celanese also issued increases of 3|cents~/lb on all grades of their bottle/packaging PET resins. As reported in the April issue (p. 107), a price initiative led by Eastman Chemical failed earlier this year reportedly due to lack of support from Goodyear. At the time, Goodyear was in the midst of significantly increasing PET resin capacity at its Point Pleasant, W.Va., facility, as well as actively negotiating the sale of its polyester businesses (PT, May '92, p. 84).

Suppliers generally attribute the latest increases to good demand as well as upward pricing pressure from key raw materials (e.g., paraxylene).


At press time, suppliers' latest attempt to recover the remainder of price hikes issued in May had gained industrywide support, with most calling for a 2|cents~/lb increase on all standard PS resin grades effective July 1.

The latest supplier to support this initiative was Amoco Chemical. Suppliers that already raised prices include Dow, Fina, Novacor, Mobil, Chevron, and Huntsman Chemical.

As reported last month, suppliers were only partially successful in implementing earlier increases of 4|cents~/lb on standard PS grades, in effect raising prices only 2|cents~/lb until now.

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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:polyethylene; polyethylene terephthalate
Author:Sherman, Lilli Manolis
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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