Polypropylene defended its reputation as North America's most volatile commodity resin in the first half of 2017.
The material registered 33 cents of total price volatility in the first half of the year, including 20.5 cents in increases and 12.5 cents in decreases, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart.
Polystyrene, somewhat surprisingly, wasn't far behind with 26 cents of total volatility, split between 19 cents of increases and 7 cents of drops. Polyethylene — including all high density, low density and linear low density grades — was a distant third in the volatility sweepstakes with only 11 cents of first-half movement. PE volatility includes 8 cents in increases and 3 cents in declines.
PET bottle resin and PVC had the least price volatility of regional commodities for the six-month period. PET's 8.5 cents included 5 cents in ups and 3.5 cents in downs. PVC saw only 6 cents in price movement, all in increases.
The volatility pecking order so far in 2017 is a little bit different from full-year 2016. PP again was the most volatile last year, but PE came in second, with PS a distant third. So far in 2017, PE and PS basically have reversed roles.
PET was the least volatile for full-year 2016, but it edged out PVC for that honor by a mere 2 cents.
There's plenty of time for these popular materials to outdo each other in the second half — much to the chagrin of resin buyers, who could use some peace and quiet for a change.