Polystyrene and PVC producers pushed price increases into their markets April 1 and announced additional increases for the coming weeks. PVC makers, seeing stronger demand in export markets, raised prices in April by 4 cents per pound, and announced further increases for May.
Industry analysts and executives of firms that buy PVC said they believe producers want a total price increase of 8 cents a pound for the first half of this year.
That would mean they would increase prices by another 4 cents per pound by June. Further, the executives and analysts said there appears to be enough strength in export sales to support such an increase.
Meanwhile, PS producers raised their prices by 4 cents per pound April 1, and announced another 4 cent-per-pound price increase that is due to take effect May 15.
In six separate interviews April 17, analysts and executives said their PVC suppliers pushed price increases through. The executives added that supplies of PVC have tightened in the past four weeks.
Executives at three PVC producing companies said the tightened supplies are due mainly to increased orders from foreign customers, especially from customers in South America, China, Taiwan and other southeastern Asia countries.
Export prices for PVC - at times as much as 20 percent lower than domestic prices - led domestic prices downward during the second half of 1995. Now, export prices exceed domestic prices, and are leading domestic prices upward.
Separately, PS producers said last week that their push for a PS price increase was boosted by an operational problem at Amoco Chemical Co.'s Texas City styrene monomer production facility that coincided with planned maintenance outages at two other styrene plants.
Concurrent with that problem, Dow Chemical Co. began a four-week turnaround of its Freeport, Texas, styrene facility, and Shell Canada started a three-week turnaround of its Scotford, Alberta, facility.
With continued strength in export markets for styrene, Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., and BASF Corp.'s Polystyrene Business Group of Mount Olive, N.J., cited increased costs for raw materials - and their expectations that monomer prices will continue to rise - as reasons for another price increase for PS.
Both Dow and BASF announced they would increase PS prices by another 4 cents per pound on May 15. Four PS buyers said April 17 they already were seeing invoices with the higher prices for PS.