In apparent efforts to recoup prices that softened in the fourth quarter, several PVC and polyethylene producers announced Jan. 1 price increases. Both PVC and PE makers saw prices erode by 2-3 cents per pound since Oct. 1, and both are facing pressure from increasing costs of raw materials.
Ethylene monomer prices are at 26 cents per pound, and producers are seeking a 2 cent-per-pound increase for Jan. 1. Ethylene monomer is a component of both PE and vinyl.
Separately, chlorine producers also are seeking Jan. 1 increases of 1-2 cents per pound.
Industry executives said last week several PE producers announced they would remove temporary voluntary allowances for price increases they announced early in the fourth quarter. Removing the TVAs puts the previously announced increases into effect.
The moves would boost PE prices 3-5 cents per pound, depending on the producer. Because of holiday schedules, producers could not be reached to confirm the pending increases.
However, four processing firm executives said Formosa Plastics Corp. U.S.A. of Livingston, N.J., is depressing markets by selling PE at prices 3-4 cents lower per pound than other producers.
Formosa executives could not be reached for comment.
In PVC, Geon Co. of Avon Lake, Ohio, and several other producers announced a Jan. 1 increase of 3 cents per pound.
PVC buyers said last week they believe the PVC producers are attempting to gain an increase in prices early in 1997, before new, large increases in polymer capacity are put into production. Those increases are expected to flood the market with new resin, and may depress prices further.