Even while price increases announced by several producers were pending, prices for high density and linear low density polyethylene resins continued to soften in early January.
Buyers and producers said last week that prices for most grades of HDPE fell 2 cents, while LLDPE slid 2-3 cents, in early January.
Those decreases are noted on price charts in this issue of Plastics News.
The declines occurred after several producers joined Dow Chemical Co. in announcing price hikes, which they hoped would take effect Jan. 1. That attempt to raise prices fell through, producers said last week.
The decreases were led by a 2 cent-per-pound reduction in blow molding grades of HDPE, and spread quickly to LLDPE, where announced price hikes were undermined by ample supply and competitive pressures, according to producers.
Executives at five PE suppliers said they believe prices for HDPE and LLDPE are too low, and that their margins are too low for profit.
Subsequent price increases were announced for Feb. 1 and March 1. Producers have announced increases ranging from 3-10 cents per pound for LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE.
However, many buyers said last week they do not expect an increase to take effect in this year's first quarter.
Meanwhile, two LDPE producers said they did not see similar softening in prices in January, yet their increases also have not been effective.
Separately, producers and buyers of acrylic resins said they saw prices decline 4-6 percent in the past three months, a result of slightly softer demand and lower feedstock prices.