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Suddenly, some price relief, loose supply.

* The runaway freight train of price increases for more than a year suddenly lost steam in the past month. Feedstock prices eased, demand grew at a softer pace than expected, and former supply tightness became an inventory glut that suppliers are eager to dispose of. This was true for polyolefins and to a lesser extent for polystyrene. But prices of PVC, engineering resins, and thermosets are still rolling uphill.

PE prices drop

Polyethylene prices fell about 2 cents/lb by mid-April. Still, suppliers did not rescind their two latest price increases--5 cents/lb pending since December and the 4 cents increase issued earlier this year. They now aim to push for the 5 cents increase this month.

Contributing factors: First-quarter demand did not take off as expected, but rose only 1% to 2%. Tight resin supplies suddenly loosened up. "We feel there was a lot of inventory build-up across the supply chain all the way back from last fall," says one supplier. Ethylene monomer prices held steady at 41.5 cents/lb in March. Resin capacity utilization has slid a few points since last year but is still above 90%, while monomer capacity utilization remains in the vicinity of 95%.

PP prices down, too

Polypropylene prices dropped 1.5 cents to 2 cents/lb by mid-April, eroding the 5 cents gained by suppliers in increments earlier this year. Subsequent hikes of 3 cents to 4 cents that were to arrive in March and April have fallen by the wayside. Further price reductions are likely.

Contributing factors: After months of tight supplies, resin makers suddenly find themselves with large unsold inventories because China and other Asian importers slammed on the brakes. Last year, China imported 12% to 14% of North American output. Suppliers face up to 50% higher inventories than usual and are scrambling to offer price deals. Says one supplier, "Prices rose to a level that made PP unable to compete with ABS and PET in automotive and packaging."

While supply has loosened considerably, demand inched up only a bit in the first quarter. Suppliers now predict about 2% demand growth for the first half of 2005. Resin utilization rates have dropped from the 95% range last year to between 85% and 90% currently.

Propylene monomer prices are still at all-time highs, despite a 2 cents drop in March to 44.5 cents/lb. April contract prices were expected to fall at least 1 cents.

PS hikes meet resistance

An attempted 8 cents/lb increase for solid PS in March broke into steps of 3 cents to 5 cents over two successive months. Large buyers started paying the first 3 cents to 4 cents installment last month. Suppliers also tried to tack an extra 2 cents onto HIPS for the high cost of rubber, but that effort failed. EPS bead producers posted Apr. 1 increases of 8 cents/lb for Nova and BASF and 6 cents for Huntsman.

Contributing factors: March demand for solid PS improved over January and February but then appeared to soften in mid-April. Also, sky-high benzene feedstock prices showed their first sign of retreat: March benzene contract prices were $3.87, but spot prices dropped below $3.70 in mid-April.

PVC: a push for a penny

Resin producers expected to push through a 1 cents/lb increase last month, on top of 2 cents in March. PVC compound producers got a 3 cents/lb increase in March.

Contributing factors: Resin producers and pipe extruders both say demand is fair to good, but not as strong as usual for this time of year. Siding demand still lags. One culprit may be heavy rainfall in several regions. Another may be decisions by some large retailers to hold off on orders in hopes that prices had peaked.

More thermoplastics up

BASF and Rhodia hiked most nylons 15 cents/lb in April. Ticona lifted tabs on acetal, PBT, PET, and copolyester TPE by 7 cents to 8 cents/lb. Celstran long-fiber compounds gained 10 cents except for PP grades, which rose 20 cents. Acryclics went up 6 cents to 10 cents/lb across the board.

Thermosets rise again

AOC, CCP, and Ashland hiked unsaturated polyesters and gel coats 4 cents in April, but Interplastic and Reichhold posted 5 cents hikes. CCP followed other suppliers by raising vinyl esters 15 cents. In addition, Durez Corp. boosted phenolic compound prices 5 cents to 10 cents on Apr. 15.
Market Prices Effective Mid-April (a)

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

ABS#
 MED IMPACT 80-90 3.0-3.4
 HI IMPACT 85-95 3.2-3.6
 X-HI IMPACT 95-105 3.6-4.0
 HI HEAT 85-95 3.2-3.6
 PIPE 80-110 3.0-4.2
 SHEET 90-110 3.4-4.2
 TRANSPARENT 125-165 4.9-6.4
 FITTINGS 85-115 3.2-4.3
 PLATING 95-105 3.5-3.9
 FLAME RET 120-140 4.6-5.9
 STRUCT FM 83-97 3.6-4.3
 10% GLASS 125-140 5.0-5.6
 30% GLASS 116-136 5.3-6.3
ABS/PC ALLOY 145-180 5.5-6.8
ABS/PVC ALLOY 130-135 5.8-6.1
ABS/NYLON ALLOY 190 7.3

ACEATAL#
 HOMOPOL 130-147 6.7-7.3
 20% GLASS 160-220 9.0-12.4
 COPOLYMER 133-137 6.8-7.0
 25% GLASS 180-240 9.2-12.2

ACRYLIC#
 G-P 125-160 [up arrow] 5.3-6.7 [up arrow]
 IMPACT 170-230 [up arrow] 7.2-9.7 [up arrow]

ACRYLONI-
TRILE COPOL#
 EXTRUSION 78-110 3.3-4.7
 INJECTION 130-191 5.4-7.9

ALKYD# 65-74 4.9-5.5

CELLULOSICS#
 ACETATE 187 8.6
 CAB 189 8.2
 CAP 189 8.2

DAP (G-P)# 251-497 16.3-4.7

EPOXY#
 G-P RESIN 116-126 NA (d)
 COMPOUNDS
 C/B/T (e) 123-166 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 46-52 1.5-1.7
 FILM EXTRU 42-49 1.4-1.6

EVOH# 265 11.3

FLUORO-
POLYMER#
 CTFE 4725 364
 ECTFE 1470-1680 93.1-107.7
 ETFE 1155-1680 70.7-102.8
 FEP 971-1470 74.8-113.2
 PFA 1785-2520 134.9-190.5
 PTFE 450-900 34.8-69.7
 PVDF 680-900 43.3-57.3

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 695-895 40-52
 CARBON FILLED 1700-2000 83.2-138.6
 UNFILLED 1000-1200 58-70
 EXTRUSION
 UNFILLED 1200-2200 60.5-110.9

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

NYLON#
 TYPE 6 139-159 5.7-6.5
 MIN FILLED 131-144 5.4-5.9
 30% GLASS 148-173 6.0-7.0
 TYPE 66 153-168 6.3-6.9
 MIN FILLED 151-159 6.2-6.5
 30% GLASS 142-192 5.8-7.9
 TYPE 69 250-276 9.7-10.7
 TYPE 6/10 286-313 12.4-13.6
 TYPE 612 400 15.3
 30% GLASS 309-311 14.7
 40% GLASS 309 14.7
 TYPE 46 295 12.6
 TYPE 11 325-341 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# 75 3.8
 REINFORCED
 GRADES 105-268 6.1-16

POLYAMIDE-
IMIDE (g)#
 UNFILLED 2310-3045 117.8-155.3
 30% GLASS 2250-2985 130.4-173.0
 30% CARBON FIB. 3260-3950 173.6-210.5

POLYARYLATE# 200-280 8.8-12.3

POLYARYL-
SULFONE# 440 21.8

POLYETHYLENE#
 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 138-165 5.9-7.0
 20% GLASS 177-190 7.6-8.2
 30% GLASS 178-217 7.6-9.3
 EXTRUSION 145-180 6.3-7.8
 BLOW MOLD 155-190 6.7-8.2
 STRUCT FOAM 149-181 6.4-7.8
 20% GLASS 235-255 10.1-11.0
 FR 166-197 7.1-8.5
 CD 140-200 6.0-8.6

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) 89-91 4.5-4.6
 MOD PET
 30% GLASS 132-143 7.4
 55% GLASS 148-155 9.8
 30% GLASS,
 FLAME RET 147-157 9.2
 PETG COPOL 114-124 5.2-5.6

POLYESTER
THERMOSET#
 G-P ORTHO 103-104 [up arrow] NA (d)
 ISOPHTHALIC 120-130 NA (d)
 BIS-A 185-190 [up arrow] NA (d)

PEEK# 4400 231
 30% GLASS 3300 173

POLYETHER-
 IMIDE 641-646 29.3-29.5
 30% GLASS 526-531 24.0-24.2

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

POLYETHER-
 SULFONE# 350-400 17.2-19.7
 30% GLASS 425-525 21-25.9

POLYETHYLENE
(RAILCAR)
LDPE#
 G-P MOLDING
 & EXTRU 80-82 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 INJECTION 82-84 [down arrow] 2.7 [down arrow]
 LID RESIN 84-86 [down arrow] 2.7-2.8 [down arrow]
 LINER 79-81 [down arrow] 2.6 [down arrow]
 CLARITY 77-79 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 EXTRU COATG 82-84 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 BLOW MOLD 84-86 [down arrow] 2.7-2.8 [down arrow]

LLDPE,
BUTENE-
BASED#
 G-P MOLDING 69-71 [down arrow] 2.3-2.4 [down arrow]
 FILM 71-73 [down arrow] 2.4 [down arrow]
 ROTOMOLD 73-73 [down arrow] 2.4-2.5 [down arrow]

LLDPE,
HAO-BASED#
 G-P MOLDING 72-74 [down arrow] 2.4-2.5 [down arrow]
 LID RESIN 83-85 [down arrow] 2.7-2.8 [down arrow]
 LINER FILM 75-77 [down arrow] 2.5-2.6 [down arrow]

HDPE#
 G-P INJ MOLD 68-70 [down arrow] 2.3-2.4 [down arrow]
 FILM 78-80 [down arrow] 2.7 [down arrow]
 BLOW MOLD 72-74 [down arrow] 2.5 [down arrow]

HMW-HDPE#
 BLOW MOLDING 77-79 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 FILM 79-81 [down arrow] 2.7-2.8 [down arrow]
 PIPE 86-88 [down arrow] 2.9-3.0 [down arrow]
 UHMW-PE# 100-125 3.6-3.7

PPE/PPO-
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 357-404 [up arrow] 21.2-24.0 [up arrow]
 55% GLASS/
 MINERAL 289-310 [up arrow] 20.8-22.3 [up arrow]
 65% GLASS/
 MINERAL 226-273 [up arrow] 15.5-18.7 [up arrow]

POLY-
PROPYLENE
(RAILCAR)#
 G-P HOMOPOL
 INJECTION 76-78 [down arrow] 2.5 [down arrow]
 EXTRUSION
 FIBER 74-76 [down arrow] 2.4-2.5 [down arrow]
 PROFILES 80-82 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 RANDOM COPOL
 BLOW MOLDING 81-83 [down arrow] 2.6-2.7 [down arrow]
 FILM 80-82 [down arrow] 2.6 [down arrow]
 INJECTION 78-80 [down arrow] 2.5-26 [down arrow]
 IMPACT COPOL
 MED IMP 92-94 [down arrow] 3.0 [down arrow]
 HI IMP 95-97 [down arrow] 3.1 [down arrow]

POLYSTYRENE
 (RAILCAR)#
 G-P CRYSTAL 68-76 2.5-2.8
 HI HEAT 71-79 2.7-3.0
 HIPS 69-77 2.6-2.9
 SUPER HI IMP 79-85 3.0-3.2
 FR 87-96 3.3-3.6
 STRUCT FM (FR) 95-98 NA

EPS#
 UNMODIFIED 80-83 NA (d)
 MODIFIED 81-85 NA (d)

POLYSULFONE# 432-512 19.3-22.9
10% GLASS 607-612 27-27.3
30% GLASS 557-562 24.9-25

POLYURE-
THANE (TP)#
 ESTER TYPE 185-255 8-11
 ETHER TYPE 245-295 10.6-13

PU
ISOCYANATES#
 POLYMERIC MDI 120-135 NA (d)
 80/20 TDI 92-100 NA (d)

PVC RESIN
(RAILCAR)#
 G-P HOMOPOL 51-54 [up arrow] NA (d)
 PIPE 49-52 [up arrow] NA (d)
 FILM 61-63 [up arrow] NA (d)
 COPOLYMER
 FLOORING 63-65 NA (d)
 DISPERSION
 HOMOPOLY 62-78 NA (d)
 COPOLYMER 77-81 NA (d)
 CPVC PIPE
 COMPOUND 119 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)# 66-74 2.5-2.8

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 76 3.8
 WHITE & IVORY 81 4.0

VINYL ESTER#
 COR RES 147 NA (d)
 HEAT & COR RES 161 NA (d)

Colored areas indicate pricing activity.
An arrow (') 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 20,000 lb.

(h) 19,800-lb load.

Note: Colored areas indicate pricing activity are indicated with #.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Your Business: Pricing Update
Author:Block, Debbie Galante
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:2040
Previous Article:Blow molded industrial packaging is back on a growth track.
Next Article:Raising the bar in multi-component molding.


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