A drop in year-end demand and softening raw material prices combined to send North American polyethylene prices down an average of 2 cents per pound during November.
The decrease ends a two-month period in which prices for the material — North America's largest commodity plastic — were flat. It affects all grades of high density, low density and linear low density PE and is shown on this week's Plastics News resin pricing chart.
With the November drop, regional PE prices are down a net of 5 cents per pound since Jan. 1. That equates to a slide of just over 5 percent, based on dairy blow molding grades of HDPE, according to the PN chart.
On the U.S./Canadian sales front, it was a mixed bag for the varying types of PE through the first nine months of the year, with HDPE up slightly, LLDPE down slightly and LDPE basically flat, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington.
Regional HDPE sales were up just over 2 percent in that nine-month period, with domestic sales growth of almost 4 percent tempered by a 5 percent drop in export sales. Among major HDPE end markets, non-corrugated pipe and conduit led the way during the period with sales growth of just over 10 percent.
In LDPE, regional nine-month sales were up less than 0.5 percent. Export sales growth of almost 7 percent improved a 1 percent drop in domestic sales. Among major LDPE end markets, non-packaging film, including retail bags and trash and can liners, saw sales growth of almost 13 percent in that nine-month stretch.
For LLDPE, nine-month sales in the region fell just over 1 percent, as a 16 percent export drop wiped out a 4 percent domestic sales gain. Among major LLDPE end markets, injection molding — including lids, caps and closures — grew 14 percent for the period.