Plastics News is showing changes in pricing for PVC, solid polystyrene, polycarbonate, nylons 6 and 6/6, and ABS resins.
Low demand sent North American prices for PVC and solid polystyrene resins down since May 1.
Since January, lower demand, primarily from the automotive sector, also sent prices down for polycarbonate, nylons 6 and 6/6 and ABS.
PVC prices for May were down an average of 3 cents per pound. That drop followed a 5-cent decline in April. Both moves are fairly large for PVC, which had seen relatively stable pricing with increases or declines of only 1-2 cents at a time in recent years.
A market source told Plastics News that PVC sales into windows and doors have been down, with a smaller decline seen in sales of PVC into its dominant pipe category. Sales into fencing are up thanks to an increase in home improvement projects, the source added. PVC exports to India also are rebounding but remain below historic highs reached earlier this year.
The 5-cent April PVC price drop had wiped out 5 cents in increases that had taken hold in the first two months of the year. Construction projects have been delayed and new home sales are down as a result of COVID-19. Rigid pipe and other construction applications account for more than half of PVC consumption in the U.S. and Canada.
In the PS market, prices slipped down 3 cents per pound in May after tumbling 7 cents per pound in April. Prices for benzene feedstock, which is used to make styrene monomer, fell more than 20 percent, to 95 cents per gallon in May. That marked the first time that benzene prices have been under $1 per gallon in several years.
Prior to April, North American PS prices had been flat for five consecutive months. Demand has been solid in food service and food packaging, but has not been strong in other sectors.
Regional pricing for engineering resins have been driven downward in 2020 by lower demand from the auto sector, according to Mark Kallman, a market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas. A soft auto market already had been expected for the year, even before COVID-19 caused vehicle production to stop almost completely for several weeks.
Some engineering resin makers have reduced their output to match lower demand, Kallman said. Market sources have estimated that prices for polycarbonate, nylon 6/6 and ABS are down an average of 10 percent so far in 2020, with nylon 6 prices down about 5 percent.
The Plastics News resin pricing chart will update May 28 to show decreases of 7 cents per pound on nylon 6, 13 cents on ABS, 16 cents on polycarbonate and 18 cents on nylon 6/6.