Polypropylene resin prices took what may be a record jump in February, catapulting up by 34 cents per pound in North America.
That increase comes on top of PP prices already up a combined 27 cents in December and January.
The PP market is facing unprecedented shortages. Supplies already were tight before extreme cold, ice and snow hit Texas, including the Gulf Coast region that is home to many resin plants.
"We're hearing that some of these [PP] plants [expected to] be up and running by the end of [February], but some of these shortages could last another two months," said Marc Fern, executive vice president with resin distributor M. Holland Co. in Northbrook, Ill.
Fern added that the lack of available PP resin could lead some processors to close plants or production lines temporarily if they can't get enough material. "Without propylene, [resin makers] can't make resin, and converters can't make their products," he said.
Tight supplies and the Texas ice storm sent other North American prices up for most commodity resins in February.
Beginning Feb. 14, cold weather spread across Texas. Plants were closed in advance of the cold snap, but some operations were damaged as freezing temperatures caused pipes to expand.
As of Feb. 25, many commodity resin makers on the coast still were assessing their ability to restart production. Commodity resin markets — especially polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC — already were tight before the cold snap and have been further tightened by the outages.
During the height of the outages, research firm ICIS of Houston estimated that almost 90 percent of U.S. PP resin production was offline.