North American resin sales and production both posted modest gains in 2022, according to the American Chemistry Council.
Resin sales and captive use in the region grew 2.8 percent for the year to 126.8 billion pounds, officials with Washington-based ACC said in a recent data report. Resin production ticked up 1.3 percent to 125.5 billion pounds. By comparison, U.S. GDP growth for 2022 was 2.1 percent, with Canadian GDP up 3.4 percent.
In sales and captive use, high density polyethylene led the way in 2022 with growth of 7.9 percent. Linear low density PE saw a 6.3 percent jump in sales, with LDPE up 5.1 percent.
Regional PVC sales were up 3.3 percent for the year, with sales in the "other thermoplastics" category — including PET, nylon, ABS and other engineering resins — up 1.8 percent. Sales of polystyrene were down 5.4 percent in 2022, with polypropylene sales down 3.6 percent and expanded PS sales down 1.5 percent.
On the production side, LLDPE production was up 7.3 percent for the year, with HDPE up 2.4 percent, "other thermoplastics" up 2.1 percent and PVC up 2 percent. Annual production of PP in the region was down 5.5 percent, with PS down 4.6 percent and EPS down 2.4 percent.
For thermosets — including epoxies, polyurethanes, phenolics, urea, melamine and unsaturated polyester — 2022 sales were up 0.6 percent, with production up 0.9 percent.
Packaging was the largest end market for North American resins in 2022 with a 30 percent market share, just ahead of exports at 29 percent. The next two largest end markets were consumer/institutional at 17 percent and building/construction at 15 percent.
ACC officials said that in 2022, despite monetary tightening by many central banks, inflationary pressures "were persistent and weighed heavy on the sentiment and decision-making of consumers and producers alike."
They added that the long-term outlook for regional resin production "is favorable." North America-based resin makers — that use natural gas as a primary feedstock — "will maintain a competitive advantage compared to producers in countries that use naphtha-based [crude oil] feedstocks in supplying the world's growing demand for resins."