Material Insights: PET prices up, polypropylene down

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North American prices for PET bottle resin and polypropylene have moved in different directions lately. PET is up a net of 4 cents per pound since Aug. 1 following increases in August and September and a drop in October. The changes are featured in this week's Material Insights video.

Changes in price for paraxylene and PTA feedstocks affected the PET market. Bottle resin demand didn't play much of a role, as sales have been up one to two percent at most so far in 2013. The resin price increases also didn't do much to improve profit margins at the region's PET-making firms, market sources told Plastics News.

Even after the net 4-cent hike, regional prices for PET bottle resin remain down a net of 2 cents per pound so far in 2013, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart. Buyers said more price drops are possible before the end of the year as seasonal demand continues to slow down.

In the regional polypropylene market, prices fell 1 cent per pound in November as demand tapered off. That drop follows a 2-cent drop in October. Regional polypropylene prices now are down a net of 7 cents per pound so far in 2013.

The November drop was shaping up to be 2-4 cents per pound before spot prices rallied late in the month. In addition to weak demand, sources said the 1-cent drop was tied into a decline in prices for polymer-grade propylene feedstock.

Other news in the video report include the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. opening two new technology centers, in India and China, and a report that plastics-to-oil recycler Vadxx Energy is getting closer to building a plant in Akron, Ohio.