Price increases that have bludgeoned commodity resins in the second half of the year now are hitting more specialized plastics.
In most cases, the increases have resulted from rising demand for end products, uncertainty over feedstock supplies and problems in obtaining transportation to get products to customers.
Markets for amorphous and crystalline PET have taken big hits since the hurricanes landed, with each going up 18 cents per pound, according to buyers contacted recently. The increases alternately have been described as short-term energy surcharges, or reactions to concerns about supplies of feedstocks such as paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid, sources said.
Those increases equal jumps in price of about 25 percent, according to Plastics News' resin pricing chart.
In expanded polystyrene, prices are up a net of 6 cents per pound since the beginning of the year. First-half price drops were turned around by increasing second-half demand and market tightness caused by styrene monomer outages after Hurricane Rita struck in late September. Large portions of benzene supply - used in styrene production - also were shut down after the storm, although most have reopened.
The 6 cent EPS move equates to an upward move of about 5 percent. U.S./Canadian EPS demand was down almost 8 percent in the first half of 2005, according to the American Plastics Council in Arlington, Va., but was improving in the second half, according to several buyers.
Prices for polycarbonate also are up an average of 9 cents per pound in the second half as a result of increased demand and concern over supplies of phenol feedstock. Officials with market leader GE Plastics said earlier that they expected market growth of 6-8 percent in North America for all of 2005.
Other materials with price increases reported on this week's PN resin pricing chart are:
* Dispersion PVC, up an average of 6 cents per pound on concerns for the availability of vinyl chloride monomer feedstock.
* Acrylic resins, up an average of 10 cents per pound, as supplies of feedstocks methyl methacrylate and acetone became an issue.
* Acetal, up an average of 5 cents per pound, on big moves from producers Ticona, DuPont Co. and BASF Corp.