Elections in Taiwan and Chinese military games apparently put an end to an expected surge in demand from China, leading PVC resin producers to abandon their attempt to raise prices in March. However, several PVC resin producers are eyeing April hopefully, and reportedly have announced they will increase their prices by 4 cents per pound, effective April 1.
Meanwhile, polyethylene producers also delayed their price increases until April 1, and several have announced further increases for May 1.
Exxon Chemical Co. of Houston and Phillips 66 Co. of Bartlesville, Okla., told their customers they will raise prices for high density PE by 3 cents per pound and prices for linear low density PE by 5 cents per pound.
Those increases are to be effective April 1. Other producers were reported to have made similar announcements, but those announcements could not be confirmed.
Exxon and Phillips said they intend to raise HDPE prices by another 3 cents per pound and to increase LLDPE prices another 5 cents per pound May 1.
Rexene Products Co. in Dallas announced March 28 that it will raise prices for low density PE and ethylene vinyl acetate co-polymers 5 cents per pound, effective May 1.
Again, other companies reportedly made similar announcements for May 1, but those an-nouncements could not be confirmed.
Separately, polypropylene producers put a 3 cent-per-pound price increase into effect March 1.
Several PP producers said they now are operating in ``sold out'' conditions as a result of stronger than expected demand growth in February and March. That stronger demand followed slightly weaker sales in January.
PVC producers said export resin sales rose in February and March, but not at the sharp levels they expected when they an-nounced price increases in February.
In interviews by telephone March 25, two PVC resin producers said they are hoping that export sales to China may improve now that Taiwan's elections are over and with the concurrent end to China's aggressive military games in the straits of Taiwan.
Processors said they have seen prices for PVC remaining steady or slightly lower in the past weeks, as producers jockeyed to sell products domestically that the users believe were produced for export sales.
PE producers also reported improved sales in February and March, but, unlike PP producers that have a shortage of polymer production capacity, PE makers appear to continue to have extra production capacity and polymer. PE producers also reported increases in export sales during the past two months.
Meanwhile, two producers of unsaturated polyester are studying price increases for April. In interviews by telephone March 27, two suppliers said higher raw material prices, particularly for styrene and glycol, may push prices up. One company intends to announce it will raise its prices by 2 cents per pound, effective April 1.
Plastics News copy editor Stephen Kovach contributed to this story.