North American prices for polypropylene and solid polystyrene resins both have increased since Nov. 1.
Regional PP prices moved up 5 cents per pound, as producers gained 3 cents of margin improvement on top of a 2-cent increase in prices for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) feedstock, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News.
The November PP hike marks the sixth consecutive month that prices have moved up for that material. Those six increases now have totaled 19.5 cents.
Market sources said that supplies of both PP and PGP currently are tight in the region. One source said that supplies of impact copolymer PP grades are "extremely tight, if not short."
Two PP suppliers in the region are running at reduced rates, either because of mechanical issues or difficulties in sourcing enough PGP, sources added.
"Things have tightened up again," said Scott Newell, a PP market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas. "Demand was very strong in October, with multiyear highs for production and demand."
Newell added that North American PP inventories have been drawn down by almost 400 million pounds in the past five months. "A lot of market dynamics have changed and look different than they did three or four weeks ago," he said.
North American PP demand has been flat to slightly negative so far in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic helped sales in medical supplies, personal protective equipment and packaging but had a negative effect on demand in automotive and in some durable goods applications.