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Material Insights: Jan.30, 2012

January 30, 2012

A bounty of commodity resin pricing action is featured in this week's Material Insights video. North American prices for PP and PET bottle resin both fell in December, with PET tumbling 5 cents and PP ticking down 2 cents. Regional PVC prices jumped 3 cents per pound in January, while things were a bit more complicated in PS. Prices for all grades of PS fell an average of 2 cents in December, but in January prices for general-purpose PS moved up 5 cents while prices for high-impact PS climbed 7 cents. Weak demand played a role in the price drops, while changes in raw material prices factored in to the increases. A legal battle between Dow Chemical and Nova Chemicals also is featured in this week's video. A U.S. appeals court recently awarded Dow almost $62 million in damages from Nova for violating Dow patents used to make enhanced PE. With interest, that amount could be more than $76 million. Nova officials said they will determine what to do next in the case. The video wraps up with news of Eastman Chemical's $3.4 billion purchase of Solutia. Both firms are active in plastics and specialty chemicals, while both also have histories in materials they no longer produce - eastman with PET and Solutia with nylon. Eastman still generates about 20 percent of its annual sales from copolyester and other specialty resins, while about 60 percent of Solutia's sales come from plastic products such as performance films and interlayers.