North American prices for solid polystyrene, ABS and PET bottle resins all have increased since Feb. 1.
Regional solid PS and ABS prices each are up an average of 8 cents per pound, while PET prices in the region have ticked up an average of 1.5 cents, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News.
Higher prices for benzene feedstock — which is used to make styrene monomer — played a role in the price hikes for PS and ABS. Regional benzene prices for February were up 67 cents to $3.34 per gallon, a jump of 25 percent vs. January.
It's the second consecutive monthly price increase for PS in the region. Prices were up 5 cents per pound in January after being flat in December.
North American PS sales for full-year 2016 essentially were flat at just under 4.4 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Council. But the largest PS end market — food packaging and food service — saw sales growth of 1.3 percent, to more than 2.7 billion pounds.
ABS prices also were affected by higher prices for acrylonitrile and butadiene feedstocks, sources said. ABS makers now are seeking further increases of 6 cents per pound for March 1 and 5 cents per pound for April 1.
For PET, the 1.5 cent increase also reflects higher prices for feedstocks such as paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid. PET bottle resin prices now have increased for six consecutive months.
Prices for the material were up 3 cents per pound in January. The six increases now have totaled 9.5 cents per pound.
Demand for PET from the bottled water market remains strong. That sector overtook carbonated soft drinks in the U.S. market for the first time in 2016, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp. consulting firm.
But carbonated soft drink sales showed surprising strength in late 2016, according to some market watchers. Sources said that factor, plus strong bottled water sales, may have pushed domestic PET demand up almost 3 percent in 2016.