North American prices for polycarbonate and nylon 6 and 6/6 resins have increased since May 1.
Polycarbonate prices are up an average of 15 cents per pound, with nylon 6 and 6/6 each up 5 cents in that time frame. All three materials remain in tight supply, although production volumes are improving, according to sources contacted by Plastics News.
Prices for all three materials fell in mid-2020, as automotive production — a major market for all three — was reduced as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Production began to recover in the second half of 2020, although restrained by a shortage of semiconductors. Some market watchers now expect U.S. light vehicle sales to increase from 14.5 million to 17 million in 2021, a jump of about 17 percent.
The February ice storm that hit Texas also affected production of PC and nylon resins, as well as production of the raw materials needed to make those materials. As a result, PC prices were up 30 cents, nylon 6 up 20 cents and nylon 6/6 up 40 cents in 2021, even before the recent increases.
Many suppliers of these materials remain on sales allocation, with many PC buyers limited to 70 percent of contract amounts. One market source told Plastics News that he did not expect the PC market to return to a normal supply-demand balance until early 2022.