US PVC prices rise 5 cents/lb in March; export prices fall

29 March 2013 18:58  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--March contracts for US polyvinyl chloride (PVC) rose by 5 cent/lb ($110/tonne, €86/tonne), but some producers’ prospects of achieving a 3 cents/lb increase for April look slim because of a lack of support from others, market sources said on Friday.

Meanwhile, export prices out of the Gulf of Mexico have fallen precipitously as US producers try to compete with falling prices for material out of Asia and the Mideast, sources said.

Pipe grade PVC is assessed by ICIS at 65-70 cents/lb, while general purpose PVC is assessed at 67-72 cents/lb. Export prices are assessed at $880-920/tonne.

The March increase, to which all major producers were holding firm, was implemented with relative ease. But at least two producers have declined to announce increases for April, with one stating in a written notice that such an increase was not reflective of the current state of the market, according to sources.

Ideas about the prospects for PVC through the rest of 2013 were mixed at the International Petrochemicals Conference (IPC) in San Antonio, Texas, hosted by the American Fuels & Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM) on 24-26 March.

Some sources said that the nascent recovery in the US homebuilding sector will drive demand for PVC and other vinyl products, providing a lift for prices. Others, however, pointed to economic headwinds such as the continuing fiscal crisis in the eurozone as having a dampening effect on outlook.

Major US producers of PVC include Axiall, Formosa, Occidental, Shintech and Westlake.

($1 = €0.78)

Follow Ken Fountain (@ICIS_Ken) on Twitter.

By: Ken Fountain

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