North American polypropylene resin prices ended 2014 with a double-digit drop in December — and regional PVC prices for the month fell as well.
The PP market saw a 10-cent price drop as lower crude oil prices drove down prices for feedstocks used to make propylene monomer. Oil prices were above $100 in mid-2014, but had dropped near $48 in early trading Jan. 14.
PP prices already had declined by 5 cents per pound in November, as light demand combined with lower feedstock costs. The 10-cent December drop left regional PP prices down a net of 8 cents per pound for full-year 2014.
“What's happening with global oil markets is the main driver behind the steep declines in price,” said Scott Newell, PP market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas. “We're also going through a period of fairly strong supply dynamics on the monomer side. Inventories are growing.”
More PP prices declines of 8-12 cents per pound are expected for January, market sources said. Through November, North American PP sales for 2014 were flat with the same period in 2013, according to the American Chemistry Council. A 3 percent increase in export sales was negated by a small decline in sales to the domestic market.
In PVC, regional prices fell an average of 3 cents per pound in December. The decline was prompted by lower prices for feedstock, primarily ethylene monomer.
PVC prices had declined by 2 cents per pound in November. Even with the December drop, regional PVC prices finished 2014 with a net gain of 6 cents per pound.
U.S./Canadian PVC sales through November were down almost 2 percent, according to ACC. Domestic sales growth of almost 3 percent was eclipsed by a plunge of more than 10 percent in export sales.
Domestic sales growth through November was fueled by a gain of more than 40 percent for sales of PVC to compounders. Sales of the material into siding and related uses also were up more than 4 percent, while sales into rigid pipe and tubing grew more than 2 percent.