US spot PC prices fall 5 cents/lb on lower feedstock costs

27 June 2012 19:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polycarbonate (PC) spot prices in the US fell by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €88/tonne) because of lower feedstock costs across the board and buyer pressure, market sources confirmed on Wednesday.

PC spot prices for general purpose (GP) moulding and extrusion grades in bulk moved from $1.68-2.00/lb to $1.63-1.95/lb.

For GP moulding and extrusion grades in package, spot prices were $1.68-2.00/lb, down from $1.73-2.05/lb

Earlier this year, US PC producers had announced a series of price increase proposals. The last successful proposal generated an additional 9 cents/lb to April prices.

One PC producer, Bayer MaterialScience, announced its intent to seek a price increase of 10 cents/lb effective with material sold on 20 June or as soon as contracts permit.

There has not been any indication of the latest price increase proposal is gaining traction.

Buyers have been pushing for lower prices as costs have decreased for many feedstocks.

Although buyers have received some relief, they continue to push for more decreases.

Some buyers are finding dogged determination by producers to maintain prices. The producers are steadfast in their stance that they must first deplete their inventory of higher cost material before they can share the lower cost in feedstocks with buyers.

Buyers said that despite what the producers may say, they contend that they are not seeing the reduction in prices come as quickly as it is entering the market.

While most feedstocks have decreased since their peak and the time that PC moved to its peak, producers continued to say that the cost of benzene has enabled prices to stay strong for much of the first six months.

Benzene is a key feedstock for cumene, which is used to produce phenol and acetone, which together produces bisphenol A (BPA), which is the direct upstream feedstock for PC.

Benzene contract prices have seen a high mark of $4.23/gal and currently sit at $4.11/gal, after having started the year with a January contract price of $3.70/gal.

Producers of PC in the US include Bayer MaterialScience, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Styron.

($1 = €0.80)

By: Wesley Busch
+1 713 525 2653

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