After months of decline, North American PET bottle resin prices rose in March.
Regional prices for recycled high density polyethylene also have increased in recent months, while prices for nylon 6 and 6/6 resins — as well as for recycled polypropylene — have fallen.
The 2-cent-per-pound PET hike ends a streak in which prices for the material had slipped for six consecutive months before being flat in February. Prices had fallen a total of 13 cents per pound during that six-month skid.
The North American PET market continues to struggle with overcapacity, but warmer spring weather typically increases demand for both carbonated soft drinks and bottled water — PET's two main end markets.
Higher feedstock prices also played a role in the PET increase, according to a recent report from the PetroChem Wire consulting firm. U.S. PET producers adjusted invoicing to match rising crude oil prices and their effect on PET production, the report said.
Average regional selling prices for both nylon 6 and 6/6 resins are down an average of 8 cents per pound since Jan. 1, resulting mainly from lower feedstock costs. Demand for nylon remains solid, especially from the automotive sector.
“Prices are catching up to lower feedstock costs,” said Paul Blanchard, a market analyst with IHS Chemical in Houston. “For nylon, supply is a bit long so there's also some competitive pressure on base resin prices.”
In the North American recycled resins market, strong demand for recycled HDPE has lifted prices in the last six months. Prices for natural, post-consumer HDPE pellets and flake are up an average of 10 cents per pound in that period. Prices for mixed-color grades of both post-consumer and post-industrial HDPE pellets and flake are up 5 cents in that span as well.
For recycled PP, however, prices have softened by an average of 5 cents per pound in that six-month stretch. Tight supplies of prime PP in the region have not helped recycled PP demand, a recycling executive in the Midwest told Plastics News. That's because PP demand growth has been in food-contact applications, where recycled PP often cannot be used, he said.