Polystyrene prices up, but PVC falls in May

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: June 6, 2013 2:27 pm ET
Updated: June 6, 2013 2:29 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers, Resin Pricing

North American markets for solid polystyrene and suspension PVC resin in May reversed their directions from earlier in the year, with PS prices rising and PVC sliding.

The PS move saw prices rise 2 cents per pound in May after falling a total of 5 cents earlier in the year, including a 3-cent drop in April. Higher prices for benzene feedstock played a role in the PS increase, as benzene prices for May settled at $4.47 per gallon, up almost 3 percent vs. April.

The early-year price drops mean that regional PS prices remain down about 2 percent so far in 2013. Benzene prices — even after the May increase — are down about 13 percent from their January levels.

In the first four months of 2013, solid PS demand essentially was flat vs. the year-ago period, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. One area of strength for the market was in sales of solid PS into the electrical/electronic end market, where four-month sales were up 12 percent.

For PVC, regional prices fell an average of 2 cents per pound in May after being flat in April and up a total of 8 cents earlier in the year. Even with the 2-cent May drop, regional suspension PVC prices remain up about 6 percent so far in 2013.

Buyers cited lower demand as a reason for the price decline in May, as many PVC processors already have stocked up on resin needed for the construction season. Building and construction applications generate a majority of North American PVC demand.

Four-month PVC demand in the U.S, and Canada essentially was flat vs. the same quarter in 2012, according to ACC. An increase of more than 1 percent in domestic demand was negated by a drop of almost 4 percent in export sales.

Domestic sales into PVC’s market-leading rigid pipe and tubing sector grew almost 3 percent in the first four months of 2013. That category accounted for 45 percent of four-month domestic PVC demand. But sales of PVC to domestic resellers and compounders tumbled 13 percent during the period. That sector accounted for almost 10 percent of four-month domestic PVC demand.

Longer-term U.S. construction trends remain positive for the PVC market. Housing starts — including single-family and multi-family units — commenced at an annual pace of 853,000 in April, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. That was the lowest rate so far in 2013, but was still 9 percent above the full-year 2012 level. The four-month average rate of 935,000 housing starts would be almost 20 percent higher than 2012 if it continues for the rest of the year.


Comments

Polystyrene prices up, but PVC falls in May

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: June 6, 2013 2:27 pm ET
Updated: June 6, 2013 2:29 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Prices trending up for some recycled resins

July 24, 2014 1:27 pm ET

Plastics News is correcting prices for recycled grades of several commodity resins on this week's resin pricing chart.    More

Meredian merging with Danimer Scientific

July 24, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Bioplastics maker Meredian Inc. is merging with its sister firm, Danimer Scientific LLC.    More

Image

US Bioplastics receives funding to bring Gatoresin to the market

July 24, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Materials maker U.S. Bioplastics is hoping its Gatoresin product will take a bite out of the bioplastics market, thanks to funding from a state...    More

Image

BASF posts growth in second quarter

July 24, 2014 11:08 am ET

German chemical giant, BASF SE, has announced a 1 percent growth in sales for the second quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in...    More

Image

Bayer PC used for lightweight, durable luggage collection

July 24, 2014 10:52 am ET

Bayer MaterialScience has partnered with U.S.-based travel goods manufacturer Andiamo Luggage LLC to create a special plastic for suitcases that is sc...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events