SABIC attempts 14 cent/lb polycarbonate price push

21 May 2009 17:44  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--An announcement by SABIC Innovative Plastics that it would raise polycarbonate (PC) prices next month has made US resins buyers wonder if poor market conditions would sustain any increase, sources said on Thursday.

In a letter to buyers, SABIC said it would raise its Lexan PC prices in North America by 14 cents/lb ($309/tonne or €222/tonne) as of June 15. The company attributed the increase to rising feedstock costs.

PC prices were assessed at $1.14-1.25/lb DEL (delivered) on 20 May, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. In May 2008, the average price for general purpose (GP) extrusion-grade PC was $1.35/lb DEL.

Barge spot prices for PC feedstock benzene were assessed at $661-737/tonne on 15 May, up from $304/tonne on 9 January but down from $1,163/tonne on 23 May 2008.

PC buyers said SABIC would be lucky to get such an increase given the continued stagnation in the key automotive, construction, and CD and DVD markets.

“The real key is whether business is turning around,” one compounder said. “I don’t see it turning around yet.”

Fellow PC producer Dow Chemical realised about half of a 7 cent/lb increase it introduced in April, sources said. The increase did more to stabilise weak pricing than actually increase it, buyers said. 

Bayer Material Science, the third major US PC producer, has not announced any price increase as of yet. A senior executive at the company said this week that he expected annual global PC sales growth to slow to 5% from previous forecasts of 8%.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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