North American prices for several engineering resins have increased in recent months as a result of multiple supply chain issues.
Plastics News is showing these changes on this week's resin pricing chart. Since June, regional prices for nylon 6 and nylon 6/6 are up an average of 35 cents per pound, with prices for acetal up 30 cents, polycarbonate up 25 cents and ABS up 20 cents.
Prices for nylons and PC initially declined in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted demand from automotive and other sectors. But demand quickly bounced back and has continued to be strong, even amid shipping issues and other supply constraints.
Since early 2020, regional nylon 6 prices are up a net of 60 cents, with nylon 6/6 up 80 cents, PC up 70 cents and ABS up 50 cents.
Market sources contacted recently by Plastics News said that strong demand, delivery challenges and high shipping costs have driven prices higher. These challenges look to continue into 2022.
"Lead times for a lot of resins were two weeks when this all started, now they're 8-12 weeks for domestic material and 12-16 weeks for imports," one source said.
Materials maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. recently announced additional increases of about 35 cents per pounds for flame retardant ABS resins and PC blends. In a letter to customers, Sabic officials said that the increase is needed because of supply/demand dynamics causing "severe inflationary pressure in our flame retardant market segments."
Covestro also recently announced increase attempts of 10 cents for PC, 15 cents for PC/ABS blends and 20 cents for flame-retardant PC/ABS blends and PC/polyester blends. Officials with the materials supplier said that the increases are needed because PC demand "remains very strong, with increasing pressure on international and domestic shipping, as well as continued constraints on many raw materials."
Also on this week's pricing chart, Plastics News is showing an 8-cent upward correction on PET bottle resin prices. The additional increase has taken place since the start of the year and is not a one-month move.
PET bottle resin prices in North America primarily are done by formula pricing — based on feedstocks such as paraxylene and monoethylene glycol (MEG) — or by contract, which is influenced by the spot market. Previously, these two pricing methods had been within a few cents of each other. But during 2021, increases seen in contract pricing exceeded those seen in formula pricing by a larger amount.
The correction is intended to better balance out prices seen by North American PET bottle resin buyers, regardless of which pricing method they use.
With the upward correction, North American PET prices are up a net of 22 cents in 2021 through October.