PVC prices up, as PP loses February increase

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AKRON, OHIO — Opposite moves in North American PVC and PP resin pricing are featured in this week's Material Insights video.

Regional PVC prices were up a nickel per pound in March, while PP prices slipped an average of 6 cents. Strong demand led to the PVC move, while factors in propylene monomer drove PP down. The March move was the second straight month that PVC prices were up. PP gave back a 6-cent hike from February that followed a 15-cent January hike.

News items from the recent IHS World Petrochemical Conference also are featured in this week's video. At the event, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. President Stephen Pryor said the world is on the cusp of a new age of unconventional energy because of new shale gas in North America. Those discoveries are allowing ExxonMobil to move forward with a massive expansion of its complex in Bayport, Texas, including the addition of almost 3 billion pounds of polyethylene capacity.

The video wraps up with predicitions of global PE and PP growth from IHS analysts Nick Vafiadis and Robin Waters. Both materials are expected to grow at rates of almost 5 percent between 2012 and 2017. PE growth should lead to PE processors announcing new capacities for their own products, Vafiadis said. Waters added that new PP capacity should be announced for North America as more shale-based propane becomes available.