Three of five major commodity resins were on the move in North America in July. The other two took the month off.
Price increases were recorded by polypropylene and PET bottle resin, with polystyrene prices falling. Standing still were polyethylene and PVC.
Regional PP prices inched up an average of 0.5 cents per pound, according to buyers contacted by Plastics News. Prices for that material had been flat in June after sliding down 7.5 cents in May and 6 cents in April.
That two-month, 13.5-cent downturn came after prices rose an average of 20.5 cents in the first three months of the year. Looking ahead, regional PP prices in the second half of the year should be more stable than they were in the first half, according to Scott Newell, a PP market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas.
"Polymer-grade propylene [monomer] was all over the place in the first half, and that had an effect on pricing," Newell said in a phone interview. "Demand is doing OK, but that's been volatile as well."
North American PP sales weren't strong in the first half of 2017, increasing almost 1 percent vs. the same period in 2016. Domestic PP sales grew 1.3 percent in that period, while export sales slipped almost 11 percent.
Regional PP makers now are working on a 3-cent increase attempt effective Aug. 1, but Newell said there's a chance that move could be pushed back to September.