PC prices rebound as nylon drops

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 31, 2013 5:09 pm ET
Updated: January 31, 2013 5:15 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers, Nylon 6/6, Materials Suppliers

AKRON, OHIO -- North American prices for polycarbonate and nylon resins traveled different roads in the fourth quarter of 2012, with PC prices climbing 3 percent and nylon prices declining by a similar amount.

The PC move equals a gain of 5 cents per pound on general-purpose grades used in injection molding. PC prices had dipped 4 percent in mid-2012, but rebounded as supply tightened and prices for benzene feedstock increased, market sources said.

Fourth-quarter PC supplies tightened as Sabic Innovative Plastics had a maintenance shutdown at its plant in Mount Vernon, Ind., and Bayer MaterialScience LLC did the same at its plant in Baytown, Texas. Those two plants account for almost 60 percent of North American PC capacity, according to IHS Chemical, a consulting firm in Houston.

In the benzene market, prices topped $5 per gallon for the first time in January, with contract prices settling at $5.16. Benzene prices now are up almost 23 percent since September. Spot benzene prices were falling in mid-January, possibly lessening the impact of that material on future PC pricing.

U.S. PC makers also benefited from increased export sales in the first seven months of 2012. Exports of PC from the U.S. grew 12 percent in that period, including an increase of almost 30 percent in PC exports to China.

Looking ahead, industry contacts said that PC demand could benefit from ongoing strength in the North American auto sector, and from a rebound in sales of appliances and electronic devices.

For nylon, the fourth-quarter decrease amounts to a drop of 6 cents for both nylon 6 and 6/6 resins. Although North American demand has improved as the number of auto builds has steadily increased to approach pre-recession levels, sources said that oversupply — particularly in nylon 6/6 — has served to keep prices down. Automotive uses account for 50 percent of North American nylon 6/6 demand and 35 percent of the region's nylon 6 demand, according to IHS.

Imports of nylon resin into the U.S. also increased 22 percent in the first seven months of 2012. Imports of nylon from Germany and Japan each grew more than 50 percent during that period. At the same time, exports of nylon from the U.S. to other countries fell by 3 percent in those seven months, causing more material to be available in the domestic market.

From 2012-17, global nylon operating rates should be relatively low at 60-70 percent, according to IHS, because of an abundance of capacity being added in China. North America leads the world in production of nylon 6/6, with a 41 percent market share. Northeast Asia is the largest nylon 6 producer, with 58 percent of global production.


Comments

PC prices rebound as nylon drops

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 31, 2013 5:09 pm ET
Updated: January 31, 2013 5:15 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ohio molder sold to private equity firm

August 19, 2014 5:23 pm ET

Private equity firm TVV Capital of Nashville has acquired injection molder Design Molded Plastics Inc. for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

Pactiv selling building products unit to Ireland's Kingspan

August 19, 2014 3:54 pm ET

Irish building material manufacturer Kingspan Group plc is acquiring the insulation business of Lake Forest, Ill.-based Pactiv Building Products for...    More

Image

Flexible film waste-to-oil pilot project continuing in California

August 19, 2014 3:19 pm ET

A recent decision to discontinue operations at a plastics waste-to-oil site in Portland, Ore., is not impacting a pilot program aimed at hard-to-...    More

Image

Germany's Bolta building $50 million plating plant in Alabama

August 19, 2014 2:21 pm ET

A German company is setting up a plastics chrome plating plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.    More

Image

Soaring business leads to growth for Composites Horizons

August 19, 2014 1:56 pm ET

Composites Horizons LLC is investing $12 million in new equipment and processes, in part for ceramic matrix composite production in its fourth buildin...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events