Commodity resin prices continue to slide as 2014 draws to a close, with North American prices for PVC and solid polystyrene each falling in November.
PVC prices in the region dropped an average of 2 cents per pound, as lower global oil prices caused prices for ethylene feedstock to decline. The PVC drop comes after prices were flat in October, and it wipes out a 2 cent increase that had taken hold in September.
Even with the November decrease, regional PVC prices remain up a net of 9 cents per pound so far in 2014, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart. Prior to the September hike, prices had been flat for five months — the longest such streak to hit the market in more than three years.
U.S./Canadian PVC demand hasn't been great in 2014, with sales down more than 1 percent through October, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. Domestic sales are up 3 percent thanks to a recovering U.S. housing market, but domestic sales are down almost 10 percent when compared to the same period in 2013.
Market watchers now are saying that an additional PVC price drop of 2-3 cents per pound for December is a strong possibility.
In solid PS, prices dipped by an average of 3 cents per pound in November, marking the third straight monthly price decline for that material. Previously, prices had dropped 3 cents in September and 2 cents in October.
The November drop again was tied in to ongoing price declines for benzene feedstock. Prices for that material fell almost 9 percent in November to $3.85 per gallon, and now are down more than 20 percent since July.
Counting the November drop, regional solid PS prices remain up a net of 3 cents per pound so far in 2014. As in PVC, U.S./Canadian solid PS demand has been soft in 2014, falling almost 3 percent through September. That sales decline has occurred even as PS sales into food service and food packaging were up almost 2 percent in the first nine months of the year.