Material Insights: Sept. 4, 2012

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Opposite pricing paths for North American polyethylene and polypropylene resins are featured in this week’s Material Insights video. Regional PE prices are up an average of 5 cents per pound since Aug. 1, while PP prices are down an average of 2 cents since then. The move represents a turnaround for PE prices, which had fallen a total of 14 cents in May and June. For PP, it’s the continuation of a trend that's seen prices for that material tumble 27 cents since May. Possible impacts on resin markets from Hurricane Isaac also are featured in this week’s video. The storm hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 28, bringing with it heavy rain and leading to the temporary shutdown of large amounts of capacity for PE, PP and PVC resins. The overall impact, however, is expected to be less than that of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast five years ago. The video wraps up with news that Braskem has opened a new PVC plant in Brazil. The plant is located in Marechal Deodoro and has more than 400 million pounds of annual capacity. SĂŁo Paulo-based Braskem spent almost $500 million on the two-year project, which will make resins for use in home building, sanitation and infrastructure.