Average North American selling prices for polyethylene, suspension PVC and solid polystyrene resins each have moved up 3 cents per pound since Oct. 1, with regional prices for polypropylene ticking up by 1 cent as well.
These hikes were caused by higher raw material prices and by some lingering supply and shipping disruptions from Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Texas coast in late August.
The PE increase comes after prices jumped a total of 7 cents in September and October. Because of varied implementation dates, some buyers may not see the additional 3 cents until Nov. 15, market sources said.
Tight PE supplies in the post-hurricane PE market have helped price increases take hold. Chevron Phillips Chemical's Cedar Bayou plant in Baytown, Texas, remains out of production.
U.S./Canadian PE sales were mixed in the first nine months of 2017, according to the American Chemistry Council. Sales of high density PE were down 5 percent, as a domestic sales gain of more than 1 percent was wiped out by a drop of almost 27 percent in exports.
Low density PE sales ticked up almost 2 percent in those nine months, with a domestic sales drop of 1.5 percent negated by an export sales gain of 12 percent. In linear low density PE, regional sales were flat, as domestic growth of almost 3 percent was lowered by an 8 percent drop in exports.
The 3-cent PS hike for October marked the second consecutive month that prices had climbed by that amount. Some production of benzene, which is used to make styrene monomer, had been affected by Harvey.
North American PS sales fell more than 1 percent in the first nine months of 2017. A domestic sales loss of almost 2 percent was softened a bit by a boost of almost 8 percent in exports.
PS maker Americas Styrenics has announced a 2-cent increase attempt for Nov. 1.
After being flat for six consecutive months, PVC prices moved up 3 cents in October, as suppliers were able to get most of a 5-cent hike they'd been seeking. Market sources said lower export prices prevented the full 5 cents from taking hold. The regional PVC market continues to work through some post-storm supply issues.
U.S./Canadian PVC sales managed growth of almost 2 percent in the first nine months of 2017. Domestic sales growth of almost 4 percent was weakened by an export sales loss of 3 percent.
In PP, the 1-cent hike was tied to higher prices for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) feedstock, but was less than some market watchers had expected in the wake of the storm. Regional PP prices had jumped 7 cents in September, as PGP was in very short supply because of storm-related production issues.
North American PP sales essentially were flat in the first nine months of 2017. Domestic sales grew more than 1 percent, while exports slipped almost 30 percent.