Prices for all grades of polyethylene moved up 7 cents per pound in March, after increasing by that same amount in February. Prices had increased by 5 cents in both January and December, as the market was tight even before the storm hit. North American PE prices are up a net of 39 cents since January 2020.
PP prices had surged an astonishing 61 cents per pound since December but now are expected to decline along with propylene. Market sources said the drop could range from 6-16 cents.
“These supply challenges aren’t going away quickly,” said Bruce Flannery, commodities product director for resin distributor Amco Polymers in Orlando, Fla. “Suppliers are incentivized to come back up as soon as possible because of these high prices. And high prices haven’t driven away demand.”
He added that weather-related shutdowns essentially removed more than 2 billion pounds of North American PE and PP production and “once that’s gone, it’s gone.”
“We have a chance to get back to normal [supplies] by the end of June, but restocking the supply chain will take most of the third quarter,” Flannery said.