US PE price hike announcements pile up

04 February 2009 18:50  [Source: ICIS news]

PE producers push price hikesHOUSTON (ICIS news)--US polyethylene (PE) producers announced price hikes of 6 cents/lb ($132/tonne or €102/tonne) to take effect 1 March, the third such initiative this year, buyers said on Wednesday.

The proposed 6-cent increases follow price hike initiatives for 7 cents/lb in January and 5 cents/lb in February, totalling 18 cents/lb in the first quarter.

Buyers said they received notifications of the March increase from NOVA, Dow Chemical, Chevron Phillips and Equistar, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell.

A large-volume PE buyer said the March initiative was not warranted by market conditions, but was probably intended to help push through the two previous increases.

Buyers said the 7-cent January hikes were delayed to February, but two producers said the January price increases were at least partially implemented.

Those buyers who did not see a 7-cent increase in January would see a combined 12-cent increase on 1 February, a producer said.

A buyer said he expected that prices would increase in February because producers appeared to have cut inventories sufficiently and brokers were already quoting higher levels.

It was not yet clear how much prices would increase, sources said, but full implementation of the proposed hikes was deemed unlikely because of weak demand.

US high density PE (HDPE) for blow moulding was steady at 40-43 cents/lb ($882-948/tonne, €679-730/tonne) in bulk during the week ended 30 January, according global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Major US PE producers include Westlake, Formosa, Dow, ExxonMobil, Total, Equistar, Chevron Phillips and INEOS.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: David Barry
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