Two major commodity resins saw lower prices in North America in April, while one material saw a slight increase.
Polypropylene prices in the region dropped an average of 11 cents per pound in April. That price drop matched a drop seen in prices for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) feedstock. PP prices had been up 8 cents in March — again matching PGP — and up a total of 27 cents in the first three months of 2023.
The April price drop on both PP and PGP was anticipated by New York-based PP supplier Blue Clover LLC. In a market update, officials with the firm said they've seen less PP resin being offered into the market in late April compared with the end of March.
"This is a possible sign of the long market beginning to balance out," they added. "This balancing can still take several months, which is why we think its greater than 50-50 that PP pricing will slightly decrease in May, maybe 3-6 cents for prime."
Regional propylene supplies could be impacted by a recent fire at a refinery operated by Marathon Energy in Texas City, Texas.
North American PP supply was increased in mid-2022 when Heartland Polymers started production in Strathcona County, Alberta. Later in the year, the firm began making propylene monomer at a propane dehydrogenation plant at the site.