FocusUS polycarbonate producers largely successful with price hikes

14 March 2012 23:02  [Source: ICIS news]

A car frame made entirely of polycarbonate. Phenol is a key ingredient in the production of polycarbonate.By Wesley Busch

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US polycarbonate (PC) producers were largely successful in their drives for higher prices in February and early March, sources said on Wednesday.

Buyers confirmed that most of the price increases sought by producers drew traction.

General purpose moulding and extrusion PC bulk prices are $1.63-1.78/lb ($3,593-3,924/tonne, €2,731-2,982/tonne), compared with $1.50-1.65/lb in January, a 13 cent increase; while the package prices for the same materials are $1.68-1.83/lb, up from $1.55-1.70/lb, also up 13 cents.

Bayer MaterialScience sought an increase of 17 cents/lb; Styron wanted an increase of 12 cents/lb; and SABIC Innovative Plastics proposed an increase of 11 cents/lb.

The increases were tied to the rising costs of feedstocks benzene and propylene, which have climbed throughout the year.

Some buyers said they are not sure for how long those types of increases can continue.

Other buyers said they understand the need for producers to increase PC prices, as they cannot be expected to absorb all of the feedstock costs.

Another buyer expanded on the notion that the increases are cost-driven, saying the market has yet to see supply issues since the start of the year.

One US producer said demand for its PC continues to be strong and that indicated that part of it was being created by those wanting to buy ahead of future price increases.

A general sense of confidence in the market, the producer said, was demonstrated by declining unemployment rates, strengthening of the stock markets and increasing consumer confidence.

The producer said other PC producers could be having problems supplying material as several inquiries have been received from businesses that are not typically customers of the producer.

The producer said it had not had any problems acquiring raw materials, and therefore was able to supply its customers with their needs.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Wesley Busch
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