Beginning Feb. 15, cold weather hit Texas, including its Gulf Coast, where much U.S. resin production is located. Plants were closed in advance of the cold snap, but some operations may have been damaged as freezing temperatures caused pipes to expand.
As of Feb. 25, many commodity resin makers on the Gulf Coast still were assessing their ability to restart production. Commodity resin markets — especially polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC — already were tight before the cold snap and have been further tightened by the outages.
Plastics News this week is showing price increases for PE, suspension PVC, solid polystyrene and PET bottle resin that have taken effect since Feb. 1. PP prices for February remain unsettled, but are expected to be up at least 28 cents per pound, based on settlements for polymer-grade propylene feedstock.
Regional PP prices already had been up a combined 27 cents in December and January. These major spikes already had led some processors to issue price surcharges on PP finished products.
Regional prices for all grades of PE resin are up an average of 7 cents per pound since Feb. 1, following 5-cent hikes in both December and January. Those hikes were caused by strong demand – especially in products sold to grocery stores – and unplanned outages at some production sites.