North American polypropylene resin prices have increased by an average of 2 cents per pound since Nov.1, as the market continues to struggle with tightness for the material.
The 2 cent hike is the second consecutive monthly price hike, following a 3 cent increase in October. These increases have reversed a trend that had seen regional PP prices fall for three straight months. Even with the November increase, regional PP prices are down a net of 13 cents per pound so far in 2015.
Houston-based LyondellBasell Industries — the region's largest PP maker — declared force majeure on PP on Oct. 7, two days after a power outage hit the firm's plant in Bayport, Texas. The plant has annual production capacity of almost 1.6 billion pounds. The outage — combined with strong domestic demand — has limited the availability of PP throughout North America.
The PP demand picture has been more positive, with North American sales up 4.9 percent through September, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. Domestic growth of 5.5 percent was lessened by a 13.6 percent drop in export sales during that nine-month period.
Among individual end markets, regional PP sales into injection molded consumer and institutional products — including furniture and housewares — were up just over 13 percent through September. In that same period, regional PP sales into sheet — including thermoformed packaging sheet — surged almost 10 percent.