Late-year price declines have affected commodity resins, with North American prices for polyethylene, polypropylene, suspension PVC and solid polystyrene all down since Nov. 1.
For each of those materials, market watchers cited weaker demand and full supplies as reasons for the price drops.
Prices for all grades of PE are down an average of 3 cents per pound for the month. Prices had been flat in October after sliding down 3 cents in September. PE makers had announced 8-cent increases for Oct. 1, but those moves were made when the impact of an attack on Saudi Arabian oilfields was expected to be much greater for plastics.
Domestic spot prices for PE "are getting better aligned with international prices," market analyst Esteban Sagel said in an email. He added that lower spot prices "will continue to pressure contract prices down," although low prices for ethane feedstock "will soften the pain" for PE makers. Sagel is principal of the Chemical & Polymer Market Consultants consulting firm in Houston.