PET bottle resin prices ticked up an average of 2 cents per pound in January as demand improved slightly. Prices also were impacted by markets for paraxylene and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstocks.
Regional PET bottle resin prices had been down a total of 6 cents in November and December. Even with those declines, North American PET prices finished 2022 showing a net increase of 16 cents.
Current North American PET resin demand “is sluggish,” according to Mark Kallman, a market analyst with Resin Technology Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas. “Downstream [PET] products are well stocked,” he added. “Everyone’s looking for [resin] demand to pick up. It’s OK, but not great.”
Strong seasonal demand for bottled water and other beverages played a role in lifting PET prices in 2022, as well as a lack of new capacity and freight and logistics challenges.
Against a backdrop of little or no new domestic capacity, U.S. imports of PET resin were up almost 13 percent in the first 11 months of 2022. Imports in that period totaled almost 3 billion pounds, according to U.S. Customs data cited by research firm PetroChem Wire of Houston.
Mexico was the largest source of U.S. PET imports in the first 11 months of 2022, accounting for just over 21 percent of the total. The next four largest sources in that period were Taiwan, Oman, South Korea and Vietnam.
North America isn't expected to see much new PET production capacity until 2025. That's when Corpus Christi Polymers LLC — a partnership among materials firms Indorama Ventures of Thailand, Far Eastern New Century of Taiwan and Alpek SAB de CV of Mexico — is expected to complete work on a much-delayed major PET unit in Corpus Christi, Texas. That plant will have annual production capacity of 2.4 billion pounds of PET and 2.9 billion pounds of PTA feedstock.