Lower feedstock costs have driven down North American prices for PET bottle resin, nylon 6 and 6/6 and polycarbonate since Jan. 1.
Regional PET bottle resin prices fell an average of 5 cents per pound in January and are believed to have been flat in February. The January drop is shown on this week's Plastics News resin pricing chart.
Prices for the material already had fallen an average of 11 cents per pound in the last two months of 2014 as prices for oil-based feedstocks fell and carbonated soft drink demand continued to decline. Carbonated soft drink bottles remain the largest single end use for PET bottle resin in North America.
The U.S. PET market also has been affected by low-priced import resin from Canada, China, India and Oman in recent years. This situation led PET makers DAK Americas, M&G Group and Nan Ya Plastics Corp. on March 10 to ask the U.S. International Trade Commission to impose anti-dumping duties on PET from those countries.
Thomas Kelliher — a PET market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas — said regional PET prices “appear to be bottoming out” in February, because of “a slight uptick” in global feedstocks and limited supply of imported resin as a result of labor issues creating backlog conditions at ports on the U.S. West Coast.
Nylon 6 resin prices slipped a total of 7 cents per pound in the first two months of 2015, with nylon 6/6 resin prices sliding 8 cents per pound in that period as well. These declines also are feedstock-related, as demand for those resins is expected to remain high in 2015, thanks to a strong U.S. auto market. Automotive uses account for 40-50 percent of North American nylon resin demand.
Feedstocks also played a role in regional polycarbonate prices dropping an average of 8 cents per pound in the two-month period. PC in 2015 is expected to benefit from a strong auto market as well, but not to the extent that the nylon resin market will.
Regional prices for both nylon grades and for polycarbonate as well “continue to be under pressure,” according to Paul Blanchard, an engineering resins market analyst with IHS Chemical in Houston.