The aftereffects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are prompting major pricing and production moves in North American plastic resin markets.
Engineering resins makers DuPont Co., BASF Corp. and DSM Engineering Plastics each have announced storm-related price increases.
DuPont's increases, effective Oct. 15, are 12 cents per pound for specialty PET, polybutylene terephthalate and polyolefin elastomer lines and 20 cents per pound for its liquid crystal polymer and PBT products. Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont also is ramping up its acetal prices by 7 cents per pound.
``DuPont strives ... to offset escalating costs with productivity programs and other containment measures,'' officials said in a news release. ``However, the magnitude of the cost increases makes these price increases essential.''
Big pricing moves at Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF will include 15 cents for standard, specialty and recycled nylon resins. PBT and recycled PET resins are set to climb 10 cents and acetal is on track to go up 12.
``Energy conservation alone cannot adequately address the widening gap between available supply and the market demand for petroleum feedstocks,'' Joe Breunig, president of BASF's North American chemicals, plastics and coatings unit, said in a news release.
On Oct. 24, Evansville, Ind.-based DSM plans 15 cent-per-pound hikes for its nylon 6 resins, nylon 6/6 resins, nylon 4/6 compounds, copolyester elastomers, polyester and polycarbonate products.
Prices for nylon 4/6 resins will go up 18 cents per pound, officials said.
Plastics additives also are being affected. DuPont is lifting prices for titanium dioxide by 6 cents per pound effective Oct. 1. Additives maker Chemtura Corp. of Middlebury, Conn., also has put in place a 2 cent-per-pound energy surcharge on all of its products as of Oct. 1.
Elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, production issues still are being sorted out. In Beaumont, Texas, ExxonMobil Chemical Co. said electricity has been restored to its oil refining and chemical operations, including 1.8 billion pounds of annual ethylene capacity and 840 million pounds of annual ethylene feedstock capacity. Assessment and repairs of the chemical operation are continuing, officials with the Houston firm said.
Nova Chemicals Corp. of Pittsburgh said its styrene monomer feedstock in Bayport, Texas, suffered ``no significant damage'' from Hurricane Rita, which struck Sept. 24. But uncertainty about raw material supply has led Nova to declare force majeure on styrene and solid polystyrene. The move is being made ``to ensure fair and reasonable allocation of products to customers,'' officials said.