North American prices for PVC and polystyrene resins declined in November as demand for both materials decreased late in the year.
Regional PVC prices declined by an average of 1 cent per pound in November after being flat for the previous two months.
Combining increases and decreases, prices for PVC now are down a net of 1 cent in 2023. One market watcher told Plastics News that the PVC market "is going into the usual slowdown."
U.S. housing starts for October came in at an annual rate of 1.49 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is up more than 1 percent vs. September, but down more than 4 percent vs. the same month in 2022. Construction activity accounts for about 60 percent of North American PVC demand.
In the PS market, prices fell an average of 4 cents per pound in November, following price drops for benzene, which is used to make styrene monomer.
PS prices had been up 6 cents in October after climbing 3 cents in both August and September for a three-month price hike of 12 cents.
Benzene prices slumped almost 10 percent to $3.65 per gallon in October, a drop of 39 cents. Improved domestic supplies helped drive benzene pricing down for the month.
North American PS prices now are up a net of 4 cents per pound and benzene prices up 58 cents so far in 2023. Global PS markets have been dealing with oversupply and low demand growth for most of the year.
The drop in benzene prices also was influenced by lower regional prices for crude oil. West Texas Intermediate oil prices opened November near $81 per barrel but were under $78 in late trading Nov. 29 for a drop of almost 4 percent.