By: Frank Esposito
August 1, 2014
United States and Canadian sales of linear low density polyethylene and of polypropylene grew in the first half of 2014, but sales of other commodity resins lagged behind their rates from the first half of the previous year.
Regional sales of LLDPE increased almost 2 percent in the first half to more than 6.8 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington, D.C. Domestic sales growth of more than 4 percent was tempered by a reduction of almost eight percent in export sales.
Six-month sales in the regional PP market — including Mexico — grew almost one percent to just under 8.1 billion pounds vs. the year-ago period. Domestic sales were up less than half of 1 percent, but were boosted by a gain of more than 15 percent in export sales.
Regional sales of high density and low density PE, as well as of PVC and polystyrene — each declined in the same comparison, according to ACC.
Sales of HDPE in the region tumbled more than 2 percent to just over 8.7 billion pounds, as a slight gain in domestic sales was negated by a 15 percent drop of sales into the export market. For LDPE, a slight domestic sales drop was magnified by a decline of almost 2 percent in export sales, resulting in an overall decline of almost one percent to just over 3.4 billion pounds.
First-half PVC sales in the region slumped almost 5 percent to less than 7.3 billion pounds, as a domestic sales gain of almost 1 percent was hammered by a 15 percent drop in export sales. Sales of solid PS — excluding expandable PS — were down 2.5 percent to just over 2.2 billion pounds. Those totals aren’t separated into domestic and export markets by ACC.
The smaller EPS market posted solid first-half sales growth of seven percent to more than 462 million pounds, with domestic sales up more than seven percent and export sales growing more than 4 percent.
First-half domestic growth markets for PP included sheet, where sales grew more almost 10 percent. First-half LLDPE sales growth was led by packaging film, where sales shot up 6.5 percent.
Other commodity resins each had domestic hot spots even though total first-half sales were down. Sales of HDPE into blow molded industrial drums and large containers surged almost 7 percent. In LDPE, sales into extrusion coating grew 5 percent.
For PVC, sales into rigid pipe and tubing increased more than 1 percent, while first-half sales of PS into food packaging and food service applications also grew more than 1 percent.