North American prices for solid and expanded polystyrene resins and for nylon 6 and 6/6 resins have declined since April 1.
Prices for all grades of PS dropped an average of 2 cents per pound, essentially giving back a 2-cent increase that the market had seen in March. The April decrease was connected to slow demand growth and to lower prices for benzene feedstock, according to market sources contacted by Plastics News.
Market prices for benzene — which is used to make styrene monomer — were down 17 cents to $3.60 per gallon in April. That represents a drop of 4.5 percent. Even with that decline, North American benzene prices are up a total of 53 cents so far in 2023. One source told Plastics News that prices for both PS and benzene could increase in May, reversing direction once again.
In markets for nylon 6 and 6/6 resins, prices fell an average of 3 cents per pound in April after dropping a total of 6-9 cents in the first quarter of the year. Larger-than-normal inventories at the processor level and sluggish demand were cited as reasons for the price declines.
"There's still too much [nylon] inventory out there," one source said. "People are still trying to figure out what normal inventory levels are after COVID."
The source added that although demand for nylon from the automotive market is "decent," demand isn't as good in non-automotive uses. Increased availability of export material also has increased regional nylon resin supply, even with demand down, the source said.