Seasonal softening has lowered prices for low and linear low density polyethylene and injection molding grades of high density PE since late October, according to several resin buyers contacted recently.
Prices on PET bottle resin also have dropped since September, while the thermoplastic ABS market has taken a 5 cent drop since early summer, buyers reported.
The changes are being reflected on this week's Plastics News resin pricing chart. Prices for all grades of LDPE and LLDPE, as well as for injection molding grades of HDPE have been reduced by 1 cent. Prices for PET bottle resin have been lowered by 3 cents and prices on all grades of commodity-grade ABS have been reduced 5 cents.
PE and PET makers still are working to pass through previously announced price increases. PE makers are pushing 3 cent price hikes effective Dec. 1, while PET makers are saying some customers have taken 3 cent price increases that were effective Nov. 1.
However, major buyers in Ohio, California and Rhode Island confirmed the recent PE reduction, which brings the total PE price drop to 5 cents since midsummer.
Officials at Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., and Equistar Chemicals of Houston said they had seen only a 4 cent swing in that time period, with a Dow official suggesting the extra penny may have been seen at the resin-broker level.
``Supply has been more than adequate,'' said a Chicago-based PE buyer. ``November was a weak month for polyolefins and December is traditionally a weak month.''
The buyer added that snarled railroad conditions in the Houston area have slowed some deliveries, but not enough to affect pricing.
``You can't raise prices to intelligent buyers based on a short-term dilemma,'' the buyer said.
PET bottle resin buyers, including large accounts in Pennsylvania, California and New York, confirmed the PET drop. They added they were doubtful of the chances of the announced price increases going through, since the attempt was being made at a time of year when demand is traditionally light.
However, officials at both Eastman Chemical Co., the Kingsport, Tenn.-based firm which leads in North American production, and Shell Chemical Co. of Houston said some buyers already had accepted the increase.
ABS prices have dropped a total of 13 cents in the last 15 months. The resin is seeing continued competition from cheaper materials, such as polypropylene.