PVC resin sales in the U.S. and Canada enjoyed solid growth in 2016, while North American sales for polypropylene and polystyrene resins saw slight upticks.
Full-year sales for PVC in the U.S. and Canada were up 4.4 percent to more than 15.3 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Council. Domestic sales were up 3.7 percent, with exports up 5.7 percent.
Domestic PVC sales into the rigid pipe and tubing end market were up almost 5 percent, to more than 4.7 billion pounds, accounting for 45 percent of all domestic sales. Other PVC end markets posted large gains in 2016 included film and sheet (up 16 percent), extruded windows and doors (almost 17 percent) and fencing and decking (18 percent).
Construction-related uses accounted for more than 63 percent of U.S./Canadian PVC sales in 2016. U.S. housing starts grew almost 5 percent in 2016 to just under 1.17 million. That marked the seventh straight annual increase for the market, which had bottomed out at 554,000 in 2009. U.S. housing starts had been as high as 2.07 million in 2005.
“2016 was a solid year all around for the U.S. housing market, as interest rates remained at historically low levels,” said Phil Karig, managing director of the Mathelin Bay Associates LLC consulting firm in St. Louis. “Housing starts were up, housing sales were up, remodeling and renovation spending was up and PVC production, not surprisingly, was up along with them.”