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Summer brings firmer PE, PS, PVC tabs.

Generally tighter inventories, fairly strong demand, and higher ethylene monomer prices are helping suppliers to successfully implement the L/LLDPE price increases announced late April. HDPE prices, which were also raised then, don't appear to be moving up as certainly.

In other news, PS resin prices went up by about 2|cents~/lb in May, and some major suppliers are aiming to get another 2|cents~/lb as they had originally intended in late April. Meanwhile, PVC suppliers managed to raise tabs another 1|cent~/lb, and were intent on getting another penny in June.


Industrywide price increases on LDPE resins issued between late March and early April were implemented successfully in May. Suppliers generally called for increases of 4|cents~/lb on molding and extrusion LDPE grades and 2|cents~/lb on extrusion coating grades. Prices of injection molding grades of LDPE are selling in the 36-38|cents~/lb range, up from 32-34|cents~/lb, and LDPE film grades are in the range of 33-35|cents~/lb, up from 29-31|cents~/lb.

Short inventories across the supply chain with no new capacity scheduled to come on stream, coupled with the continuation of relatively good demand, are key to the apparent success of this price initiative, say suppliers. Also cited were the unscheduled production outages at some major suppliers' plants that occurred in April.

Meanwhile, hikes set for May in both LLDPE and HDPE were generally pushed back to June 1. At press time, sources at major suppliers were confident they would be able to get the full price increase on LLDPE--in fact, several indicated that their customers were already paying 3|cents~/lb more for these resins. However, while a few suppliers were equally optimistic about HDPE price hikes, most had doubts that these prices would go too much higher at present.


Polystyrene prices have firmed up following industrywide price increases issued early in the second quarter. Moreover, by mid-June at least three major players were taking steps to further increase PS tabs.

PS suppliers had originally hoped to raise prices 4|cents~/lb for general-purpose grades and 6|cents~/lb for ignition-resistant/flame-retardant grades, effective May 1. However, in a move that appears to have been initiated by Fina Oil & Chemical, suppliers modified their increases to 2|cents~/lb.

Selling prices of standard PS resin are now holding in the low 40|cents~/lb range--reported as high as 42-43|cents~/lb by some suppliers and as low as 40-41|cents~/lb by large-volume buyers.

At press time, Dow, Mobil, and Huntsman Chemical had taken action toward getting the remainder of their original increases. Dow notified customers that it intended to remove a 2|cents~/lb TVA on standard resin grades effective July 1. For ignition-resistant grades, a spokesman said, "We have various TVAs on those materials that are subject to removal at any time."

Mobil issued a 2|cents~/lb hike on standard PS grades and 4|cents~/lb for ignition-resistant grades, also effective July 1.

Though a key source at Huntsman told PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY that the company never officially rescinded its May increases, he said that as of July 1 the company will no longer "be flexible" on PS resin pricing.


Major suppliers and large-volume buyers confirmed that PVC resin prices went up in May, and suppliers indicated they expect prices to increase further.

Suppliers had issued two successive price hikes of 2|cents~/lb in March and April. By late April, it was evident that they had been able to implement those increases only partially--essentially raising prices only 2|cents~/lb. As reported last month, suppliers had issued a 1|cent~/lb increase for May 1 and another 1|cent~/lb for June 1 to gain the other 2|cents~/lb that didn't go through before.

Both suppliers and buyers contacted at press time said resin tabs were indeed higher--generally by 1|cent~/lb. Suppliers appeared optimistic that they would be able to push through the other 1|cent~/lb also.

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Title Annotation:Pricing Update; polyethylene; polystyrene; polyvinyl chloride
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Jul 1, 1992
Previous Article:Polyester initiators: opportunities overlooked?
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