North American prices for PVC and polystyrene resins both increased in February.
PVC prices moved up an average of 1 cent per pound for the second consecutive month, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News. Availability of PVC remained somewhat tight again in February, as construction industry buyers began to make purchases ahead of spring construction.
The January hike ended a streak of six consecutive monthly price drops for PVC, including a 6-cent decline in December. Regional PVC prices finished 2022 down a net of 31 cents. Residential construction in the U.S. has slowed as interest rates increased.
U.S. housing starts for January came in at an annualized rate of a little less than 1.34 million. That number essentially was flat vs. December but down more than 27 percent vs. the same month in 2022.
In a recent financial filing, Westlake Corp, said that sales in its Performance Materials segment — including PVC and polyethylene resins and epoxy materials — were up more than 16 percent to just under $7 billion in full-year 2022.
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Prices for both solid and expanded PS were up 3 cents in February after being flat in January. The February price hike was linked to price fluctuations for benzene feedstock, which is used to make styrene monomer.
Market prices for benzene were up 47 cents in February to $3.58 per gallon, an increase of a little more than 15 percent. Prices for the material had been up 4 cents in January, but that amount wasn't enough to lift PS prices.
In a recent financial filing, materials firm Trinseo said that in 2022 adjusted EBITDA for its Americas Styrenics joint venture, one of North America's largest PS resin makers, was up almost 11 percent to $102 million.