The Week in Chemistry: PE, PP well-supplied in February as slow demand offsets supply issues; North American chemical railcar loadings for week ended Feb. 25 up 0.9% year-over-year, US PVC exports seen rising amid slow domestic demand, says OxyChem CEO

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

LOS ANGELES , March 3, 2023 () –


US Resins 

Both PE and PP resins experienced continued supply issues in February, owing to weather and labor-related interruptions.

However, operating rates for both PE and PP increased earlier in 2023, leading to more cushioned inventories. Sluggish demand also offset the weaker supply in February, leading to an overall well-supplied market.

Export demand also weakened early in 2023, reaching 42% of total resin sales compared to December’s 48%.

Near the end of the month, PE contracts had yet to be finalized. Sellers aimed to raise prices by US$0.03/lb.

PP contracts had also yet to settle as producers grappled for a margin-boosting contract increase.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.

North American Chemical Railcar Traffic

North American chemical railcar traffic for the week ended February 25 increased 0.9% year-over-year, reaching 45,887 loads, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Rail traffic increased in Canada and Mexico, while decreasing in the United States.

Chemical rail traffic for the eight weeks ended on February 25 decreased 4.0% year-over-year to 357,193 loadings. 

In the US, eight-week chemical rail traffic fell 8.0% year-over-year to 253,310 loadings.

The primary source of this information is MRC.

Global Caustic Soda, PVC

OxyChem experienced a 46% increase in export demand for US PVC in 2022, while domestic demand fell 7% compared to 2021, according to CEO Robert Peterson.

Exports from the US increased significantly near the end of 2022 as the market responded to high interest rates, which impacted construction-related demand. Exports are expected to continue their upward trend in 2023, the CEO said.

In addition, he noted that high interest rates in the US may not yield as soon as expected, putting additional drag on domestic PVC demand.

Caustic soda may also see slow demand as China gradually recovers from its pandemic-related restrictions.

US export PVC prices were assessed at US$835/tonne FAS Houston on February 22, compared to a peak of $1,755/tonne in April 2022.

Export caustic soda prices were recently assessed at $625/tonne FOB USG on February 21, compared to their all-time high of $1,055/tonne FOB USG in October 2022.

The primary source of this information is S&P Global Platts.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Chelsey Quick
Chelsey Quick
- VP Client Success -

We offer built-to-order chemicals industry coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.