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

Indorama's purchase of Sasa to give wider access to multiple markets

April 16, 2014 10:07 am ET

PET maker Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. is expanding in Turkey with the acquisition of a majority of Sasa Polyester Sanayi.    More

Axiall resumes operations at damaged Lake Charles PVC feedstock plant

April 15, 2014 4:41 pm ET

Axiall Corp. has resumed operations at its PVC feedstock plant that was damaged by a fire in December.
More

Image

Power failure shuts down two PE resin units in Texas

April 15, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Two polyethylene resin units operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Baytown, Texas, were closed from April 8-11 because of a power failure.    More

Shell Chemical to host public meetings to discuss plans in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh...    More

Image

Despite struggles, Europe still key market in global resin picture

April 15, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Challenges and opportunities facing international plastics and chemicals markets were tackled by a trio of top executives at the IHS World Petrochemic...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

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

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events