North American prices for suspension PVC and PET bottle resin have increased since Oct. 1.
PVC prices are up 6.5 cents per pound, with PET prices seeing a 4-cent hike. Both moves were somewhat surprising to buyers, since they go against seasonal trends for those materials.
"Business is very strong, inventory is very low and exports are booming," an executive at a PVC resin firm said. "The last two months for [vinyl] siding have been the strongest since 2010."
The executive added that owners are investing in their homes or moving from cities to suburbs or rural areas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Low interest rates also are helping homebuyers. Construction-related uses account for around 60 percent of PVC consumption in the U.S. and Canada.
The PVC increase is the fifth consecutive monthly hike. Prices were up 5.5 cents in September and now have climbed 20 cents since June. Market sources said some of that amount could be given back later this year or in early 2021.
PVC makers Formosa Plastics and Westlake Chemical have force majeure sales limits in place, although those limits are expected to be removed in November. Almost 2.1 billion pounds of annual capacity for PVC feedstock VCM operated by Westlake in Lake Charles, La., remains down because of the impact of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in August and October.
PET prices were up 4 cents in October after rising 2 cents in September. The beverage-heavy PET market doesn't often see price increases in cooler months.
The 4-cent hike was the result of minor price increases for paraxylene and PTA feedstocks, combined with a surcharge from PET makers to cover spot buys of monoethylene glycol (MEG) feedstock and higher freight costs, according to Mark Kallman, a market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas.