US nylon at record highs on feedstock surge, thin inventories

15 February 2011 21:18  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US domestic prices for nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 have risen to record highs, buyers conceded on Tuesday, as earlier resistance to aggressive price hike initiatives faded in the face of soaring feedstock costs and dwindling inventories.

Nylon 6 is now at its highest since August 2008, while nylon 6,6 has eclipsed the plateau that it reached in June 2010.

US nylon 6 domestic prices are assessed by ICIS at 187-197 cents/lb ($4,123-4,343/tonne or €3,051-3,214/tonne) for bulk unfilled material, up from 180-190 cents/lb at the start of the year. Nylon 6,6 is at 213-223 cents/lb for bulk unfilled material, up from 205-215 cents/lb.

The price initiatives had been in play in both markets since the start of the year, and were finally being implemented within the past week in most cases.

For nylon 6, BASF and Honeywell each had announced price increase nominations of 10 cents/lb effective in January.

Sources said about 7 cents/lb of that had been accepted by the market.

Each of the producers has also issued a price increase initiative for 1 February: 15 cents/lb by Honeywell, and 8 cents/lb for BASF. Those are expected to win acceptance by the end of the month.

The producers have been spurred by rising costs for feedstock caprolactam (capro), which is in tight supply globally.

There is no assessed US capro price, but for comparison’s sake, contract prices have increased in the past month by 7% in Europe and by 8% in Asia.

Demand for nylon 6 in the US textile sector has been flat, while demand from the engineering plastics segment has been strong, sources said.

For nylon 6,6, price increase initiatives from Ascend Performance Materials, for 15 cents/lb, and BASF, for 10 cents/lb, have found some traction on strong demand.

Sources said 6,6 prices have generally increased by about 8 cents/lb. Inventories built up in anticipation of the price initiatives have started to thin out, lending strength to producers’ positions.

Major US producers of nylon 6 or nylon 6,6 are Ascend Performance Materials, BASF, DuPont, Honeywell, Invista and Rhodia Polyamide.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: John Dietrich

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