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The trajectory of prices of the five volume commodity PVC resin powder was upward through September; but starting last month, a reversal was underway for most of these resins, possibly excepting PE and PVC. Factors in the continued flat-to-downward trajectory for PP, PS and PET included expectations of improved supply availability, lower feedstock prices, slowed seasonal demand, and loss of export opportunities due to higher prices. Factors maintaining strong pricing for PE and PVC, at least in the short term, included strong demand and tight monomer and polymer supplies brought on by planned and unplanned production shutdowns.
These are the views of purchasing consultants from calcium carbide method pvc resin, Inc. (RTi), senior editors from PetroChemWire (PCW), and CEO Michael Greenberg of The Plastics Exchange.Both Burns and Barry ventured that a slow recovery of tight suspension method pvc resin inventories was already underway at the start of the fourth quarter, which ought to help ease price pressure in first quarter of 2021. Going into October, The Plastic Exchange’s Greenberg reported that while demand for spot PE had been good, processors generally opted for just single truckloads, and a whisper of uncertainty had crept into the market. “The fourth quarter often brings softer demand and could provide the market an opportunity to rebalance especially when downed plants return fully online and new reactors begin production,” he commented.PVC tabs in September moved up by 5¢/lb, the result of an initial 3¢ hike increase and a 5¢ hike announced later in the same month. Suppliers also issued a 4¢/lb October increase, though both PCW senior editor Donna Todd and Mark Kallman, RTi’s v.p. of PVC and engineering pvc paste resin, doubted its full implementation. Still, these sources anticipated that the remaining 3¢ of the second September increase would eventually take hold. “I think the 4¢/lb price hike might be a stretch. Still, suppliers have leverage,” said Kallman. He cited a very tight market, a robust increase in demand from construction, significantly higher export prices, much lower availability, and the late-settling September ethylene contract price increase of 3.5¢/lb, which added 1.6¢/lb to the cost of producing PVC. Kallman expected that November would see significant recovery in PVC supply, and prices could be flat for the remainder of the year.Prices of PE and PP moved up in double-digits, while those of PS, PVC and PET were also on an upward trajectory, in the first six weeks of this year. The remainder of the first quarter was projected to continue on this track, owing to global constraints on feedstocks and some resins, coupled by continued strong demand in most cases. Those are the views of purchasing consultants from plasticizer, senior editors from PetroChemWire (PCW,), and CEO Michael Greenberg of The Plastics Exchange.