Lower feedstock costs played a role in sending North American polyethylene prices down 5 cents per pound since Aug. 1.
The decline effectively wipes out a 5-cent hike that the market had seen in May. Prior to that increase, regional PE prices fell a total of 16 cents between October and April.
Oil prices remain a global price-setter for PE, even though most PE made in North America is derived from natural gas. West Texas Intermediate oil prices were above $45 per barrel on Aug. 1, but were near $39 per barrel in late trading Aug. 26, for a drop of about 13 percent.
PE demand in the U.S. and Canada remained solid through July, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. High density PE sales in the region were up almost 6 percent in that seven-month period, with domestic growth of 2 percent boosted by a gain of almost 29 percent in export sales.
For low density PE, seven-month sales ticked up almost 2 percent, with 3.5 percent domestic growth hampered by a loss of more than 4 percent in export sales. The linear low density PE market fared better, with sales up almost 6 percent in that time frame. Domestic LLDPE growth of almost 7 percent was softened by growth of only 2 percent in the export market.