US PC prices could take a hard fall - market sources

21 January 2009 21:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--With global demand still weak and domestic supply still said to be high, US polycarbonate (PC) spot prices could fall as much as 25 cents/lb ($551/tonne, €430/tonne) in the near future, sources said on Wednesday.

One US distributor in the US midwest said material from Thailand was offered at 95 cents - 1.15/lb DEL (delivered), while a second distributor quoted the same price for Korean material.

The lower offers were eroding price support for US material, which global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing assessed on 14 January at $1.20-1.30/lb DEL for both general purpose moulding and extrusion grades.

“You should see PC in the low dollar range. Imports have been pretty much the price leader, with demand looking terrible,” a west coast distributor said.

PC prices in the US have shown more resilience than other plastics. Despite feedstock phenol contract prices falling by more than half from their August high of $1,003/tonne, PC prices have fallen by just 20%.

But sources said the drop in feedstock values, foreign competition and the need to move material would eventually force more producers to slash their prices.

A major US producer described the US market for PC as “terrible,” while buyers and sellers said demand was extremely soft.

With the fate of Dow Chemical’s 105,000 tonne/year PC line at its Freeport, Texas, plant unknown, and SABIC Innovative Plastics said to be steadfastly maintaining its pricing at previous levels, foreign suppliers have had more room to grab market share in the US, sources said.

Major US PC suppliers include Bayer, Dow and SABIC.

($1 = €0.78)

For more information on PC, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Ben Lefebvre
+1 713 525 2653



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