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Prices still soft across the board.

PET, polyethylene, polystyrene, and PVC prices were still drifting downward over the summer, despite healthy domestic demand in many markets. PP suppliers hope their prices have hit bottom, and PE makers are still threatening a 5[cents]/lb increase, though they keep backing off the start date.

PET resin tabs slip

PET bottle-resin prices slipped by a couple of cents since the end of the second quarter. Although suppliers put through a 3[cents]/lb increase in April, resin tabs began to slip by the end of June.

Contributing factors: Despite 15-20% annual global demand growth, PET resin oversupply persists from the massive overbuilding in 1995-96. Moreover, pressure by the major soft-drink producers is spurring increased competitive pricing activity by resin makers. PET suppliers maintain that the supply/demand balance has shown some improvement this year, and they anticipate it to improve further. However, suppliers maintain that prices are still barely above production costs. That makes it increasingly difficult to justify the reinvestment required to keep up with the double-digit growth in existing markets and serve newly emerging markets such as beer packaging.

PE prices drop, but hike still looms

Polyethylene resin prices dropped further in July and August. LDPE and LLDPE film resins dropped by 1[cents]/lb, and the lower end of injection molding grades fell as much as 2[cents]/lb. HDPE blow molding and injection grades dropped a total of 2[cents]. Meanwhile, the 5[cents/lb across-the-board hike supported by all major suppliers is still on the table (pushed back from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15), although it will most likely be postponed at least to Sept. 1.

Contributing factors: Ethylene monomer dropped 1[cents]/lb since the end of last year and then fell another 1/2[cents] in July. Some industry sources see the monomer price bottoming out now and expect a slight increase in the fall. Resin suppliers maintain that demand has continued to be relatively good, even through the summer months. Processors are believed to have low resin inventories because they held off buying in anticipation of lower prices.

Has PP hit bottom?

After dropping 6[cents]/lb so far this year, polypropylene prices have bottomed out, suppliers say. At press time there was an unsubstantiated rumor that Exxon had notified customers of a 3[cents]/lb hike effective Sept. 1, but no other major supplier was known to have taken similar action.

Contributing factors: While supplier profit margins have been squeezed by falling prices, major new capacity additions in the past year and the anticipation of more new capacity coming this year (e.g., Fina's 550-million-lb/yr plant due in the fourth quarter) have so far stifled attempts to hike prices.

Meanwhile, propylene monomer prices stabilized in July and August, when resin tabs generally held stable. Domestic demand is reported to remain good, though exports - particularly to Asia - have fallen considerably. Supplier capacity utilization is still in the low 90% range.

PVC prices sag

Vinyl resin prices continued to deteriorate from mid-July to mid-August, losing a penny across the board, producers say.

Contributing factors: Suppliers report that demand continues healthy. Even the typically slow month of July was stronger than usual. But they blame Asian financial woes, and particularly Korean price cutting, for low domestic prices, although no Asian resin appears to have reached North America yet.

Polystyrene stable - for now

PS prices appeared stable in mid-August, after dropping a penny in July. Suppliers say most prices have fallen back to where they were at the end of last year - or even lower.

Contributing factors: "The market is fundamentally loose," says one major producer. Demand that was predicted to grow 3-4% this year appeared to be up 1-2% in the first half. Even toy markets, normally active in August, were slow this year.
Market Prices Effective Mid-August(a)

RESIN GRADE(b) [cents]/LB [cents]/CU IN(c)

ABS
MID IMPACT 89-91 3.4
HI IMPACT 94-100 3.7
X-HI IMPACT 102-105 3.9
HI HEAT 117-121 4.7
PIPE 78-82 2.6-3.0
SHEET 87-90 3.4
TRANSPARENT 152-158 5.7-5.9
FITTINGS 88-92 3.3-3.4
PLATING 105-115 4.0
FLAME RET 122-130 5.7
STRUCT FM 103-107 NA(d)
10% GLASS 140-160 6.0-6.1
30% GLASS 136-156 6.0-7.2
ABS/PC ALLOY 145-150 6.0-6.1
ABS/PVC ALLOY 140-145 6.0-6.1
ABS/NYLON ALLOY 177-199 7.0-8.0

ACETAL
HOMOPOL 123-127 6.1-6.4
20% GLASS 142-150 7.9-8.4
COPOLYMER 123-127 6.1-6.4
25% GLASS 142-150 7.9-8.4

ACRYLIC
G-P 85-95 3.7-4.1
IMPACT 126-173 5.2-6.9

ACRYLONI-
TRILE 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 8.5
CAB 175 7.6
CAP 175 7.6

DAP (G-P) 251-497 16.3-34.7

EPOXY
G-P RESIN 116-126 NA(d)
COMPOUNDS
C/B/T(e) 126-166 9.4-12.9
R/C/D(f) 208-271 15.3-20.1
SEMICONDUCTOR
NOVOLAC 193-228 13.1-15.9
ANHYDRIDE 188-268 13.9-19.2

EVA
INJECTION 60-95 2.4-4.0
FILM EXTRU 55-87 2.4-2.7

EVOH 265 11.3

FLUORO-
POLYMER
CTFE 4500 346.6
ECTFE 1100 70.1
ETFE 1230-1600 79.3
FEP 1000-1500 70.5-75.6
PFA 1850-2400 143.1-185.7
PTFE 500-900 39-70.3
PVDF 650-700 41.7-44.9

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 715-1065 50.5-100.4
CARBON FILLED 1700-2000 83.2-138.6
EXTRUSION
UNFILLED 1200-2200 60.5-110.9

MELAMINE
MOLD
COMPOUND 90-94 5.5-5.6
MELAMINE/
PHENOLIC
COMPOUND 75-83 4.5-5.0

NYLON
TYPE 6 129-133 5.9
MIN FILLED 122-130 6.3
30% GLASS 156-160 7.7
TYPE 66 136-143 6.8
MIN FILLED 128-136 6.4
30% GLASS 168-178 8.4
TYPE 69 250-276 9.7-10.7
TYPE 6/10 286-313 12.4-13.6
TYPE 612 286-327 11.4-13.2
30% GLASS 309-311 14.7
40% GLASS 309 14.7
TYPE 46 295 12.6
TYPE 11 32-341 13.6-14.1
30% GLASS 331-350 15.0-15.8
40% GLASS 347-360 17.7-18.5
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
REINFORCED 55.5-87.5 2.8-4.0
GRADES 100.5-267.5 6.0-15.9

POLYAMIDE-
IMIDE(g)
UNFILLED 2610 133.8
30% GLASS 2250 130.7
30% CARBON FIB. 3260 174.2

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

POLYCAR-
BONATE
INJECTION 148-163 6.7
20% GLASS 178-190 8.9
30% GLASS 188-217 10.4
EXTRUSION 137-145 5.9
BLOW MOLD 150-170 6.7
STRUCT FOAM 159-181 NA(d)
20% GLASS 245-255 NA(d)
FR 176-197 8.2
CD 185-200 9.6

POLYESTER (TP)
PBT TYPE
UNFILLED 143-150 6.9
HI-IMP 154-165 7.6
30% GLASS, FR 165-187 10.0
STRUCT FOAM 159-165 NA(d)
PET
BOTTLE (RAILCAR) 51-54 2.7
MOD PET
30% GLASS 132-143 7.4
55% GLASS 148-155 9.8
30% GLASS
FLAME RET 147-157 9.2
PETG COPOL 98 4.5

POLYESTER
THERMOSET
G-P ORTHO 57-65 NA(d)
ISOPHTHALIC 60-70 NA(d)
BIS-A 120-150 NA(d)

PEEK 3300 109.3
30% GLASS 2525 110.0

POLYETHER-
IMIDE 641 29.3
30% GLASS 526 28.5

POLYETHER-
KETONE (PEK) 2950 130.1
30% GLASS 2600 153

POLYETHER-
(RAILCAR) 571 28.26
30% GLASS 475 27.11

POLYETHYLENE
(RAILCAR)
LDPE

G-P MOLDING
& EXTRU 39-41 1.3-1.4
INJECTION 39-41 1.3-1.4
LID RESIN 42-45 1.4-1.5
LINER 35-37 1.2-1.3
CLARITY 40-43 1.4-1.5
EXTRU COATG 40-44 1.4-1.5
BLOW MOLD 41-45 1.4-1.5

LLDPE,
BUTENE-
BASED
G-P MOLDING 33-35 1.1-1.2
FILM 30-33 1.1
ROTOMOLD 33-35 1.1-1.2

LLDPE,
HAO-BASED
G-P MOLDING 36-39 1.3
LID RESIN 37-39 1.3-1.4
LINER FILM 35-37 1.2-1.3

HDPE
G-P INJ MOLD 30-34 1.1-1.2
FILM 36-38 1.3
BLOW MOLD 33-36 1.2-1.3

HMW-HDPE
BLOW MOLDING 36-39 1.3-1.4
FILM 37-39 1.3-1.4
PIPE 40-42 1.4-1.5

UHMW-PE 95-120 3.6-3.7

PPE/PRO-
BASED RESIN
INJECTION 180 6.8
20% GLASS(h) 283 12.3
30% GLASS(h) 291 13.3
EXTRUSION(h) 242 9.2
STRUCT FM 231 NA(d)

PPS
40% GLASS 320-330 18.4-19.5
55% GLASS/
MINERAL 275-295 18
65% GLASS/
MINERAL 220-250 15

POLY-
PROPYLENE
(RAILCAR)
G-P HOMOPOL
INJECTION 27-29 0.9
EXTRUSION
FIBER 24-27 0.8-0.9
PROFILES 27-28 0.9
RANDOM COPOL
BLOW MOLDING 29-33 0.9-1.1
FILM 30-33 1.0-1.1
INJECTION 30-34 1.0-1.1
IMPACT COPOL
MED IMP 29-35 0.9-1.1
HI IMP 36-38 1.2

POLYSTYRENE
(RAILCAR)
G-P CRYSTAL 37-39 1.4-1.5
HI HEAT 38-40 1.4-1.5
HIPS 41-43 1.5-1.6
SUPER HI IMP 55-60 2.1-2.2
FR 80-90 3.0-3.4
STRUCT FM (FR) 90-91 NA(d)

EPS
UNMODIFIED 75-79 NA(d)
MODIFIED 79-80 NA(d)

POLYSULFONE 440 19.71
10% GLASS 430 20.6
30% GLASS 372 20.01

POLYURE-
THANE (TP)
ESTER TYPE 175-225 7.5-9.7
ETHER TYPE 240-270 10.3-11.6

PU
ISOCYANATES
POLYMERIC MDI 90-96 NA(d)
80/20 TDI 90-105 NA(d)

PVC RESIN
(RAILCAR)
G-P HOMOPOL 25-28 NA(d)
PIPE 22-24 NA(d)
FILM 28-30 NA(d)
COPOLYMER
FLOORING 39-41 NA(d)
DISPERSION
HOMOPOLY 57-61 NA(d)
COPOLYMER 61-65 NA(d)
CPVC PIPE
COMPOUND 122 NA(d)

PVDC
EXTRUDABLE 162 NA(d)

SILICONES
MOLD. COMP. 581-640 38.1-39.3
SPECIALTY GR. 891-3148 NA(d)
SILICONE/EPOXY 339-343 22.5-22.8

STYRENE-
ACRYLIC 108-112 3.7-4.0

SAN (G-P) 85-88 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 287-337 10.4-12.3
POLYESTER 200-310 8.8-13.6
STYRENIC 83-237 2.9-8.3

UREA MOLDING
COMPOUND
BLACK & BROWN 67-78 3.6-4.1
WHITE & IVORY 72 3.8

VINYL ESTER
COR RES 144 NA(d)
HEAT & COR RES 158 NA(d)

KEY: Colored areas indicate pricing activity. An arrow (arrow down)
indicates direction of price change. a Truckload, unless otherwise
specified. b Unfilled, natural color, unless otherwise specified.
c Based on typical or average density. d Not applicable. e Novolac
and anhydride grades for coils, bushings, transformers. f Novolac
and anhydride grades for resistors, capacitors, diodes. g In
quantities of 2200 lb. h 19,800-lb load.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:plastics
Author:Schut, Jan H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Sep 1, 1998
Words:1772
Previous Article:Compounding.
Next Article:It's not easy to keep the faith.
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