The Week in Chemistry: US spot resin prices for week of Jan. 9 up US$0.01-US$0.03/lb; global capacity additions for PE, PP and PVC may outpace demand in 2023 amid recession fears

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LOS ANGELES , January 20, 2023 () –


US Resins

US spot resin prices for the week of January 9 increased by another US$0.01-$0.03/lb on the back of rising monomer costs.

Demand was supported by China’s decision to once again open its borders to tourism and business, which raised hopes for increased polymer buying interest.

Demand from Latin America also increased as buyers sought US material as an alternative to purchases out of Asia, where offers were minimal and more costly.

Spot PE prices at least held steady with the previous week, but increased by about $0.02-$0.03/lb compared to several weeks ago. 

Week-on-week, HDPE prices increased by up to $0.03/lb.

In addition, producers are seeking January contract increases of up to $0.08/lb, supported by lower inventories, reduced production and solid export demand.

PP sales continued a four-month losing streak, averaging more than 10% lower than 12-month averages.

The primary source of this information is Plastics Today.


Global PE Markets

Global polymer prices, after hitting records in 2020, began to ease headed into 2023 as markets face up to additional supply and high inflation.

Dow, LyondellBasell, Westlake and NOVA Chemicals have all reduced or plan to reduce PE output.

Meanwhile, Shell expects to achieve full output at its new Pennsylvania petrochemical complex in mid-2023.

In Europe, production rates continue to be limited by sky-high energy prices.

Meanwhile, China’s relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions are fueling hope for rebounding demand.

However, global demand may still lag behind the PE capacity additions expected to come online by the end of this year. 

In Asia, expectations are for 4 million tonnes/year of new PE capacity. In North America, 2.675 million tonnes/year of capacity is slated to begin in H1 of 2023.

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

Global PP, PVC

Global demand for PP and PVC is still lackluster due to the nature of the plastics, which are more often used in costly, durable items such as vehicles, appliances and home construction.

However, a total of 4.3 million tonnes/year of PP capacity is expected to come online in 2023.

Globally, PVC capacity will increase by an estimated 1.5 million tonnes/year in 2023, with China as the leading contributor.

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

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