HOUSTON (ICIS)--Styron has announced an 8 cent/lb ($176/tonne) price increase for its polycarbonate (PC) resins and blends in the Americas, effective 17 February, according to a customer letter provided to ICIS on Wednesday.
"The price increase is in response to the escalation in key raw materials used in the manufacturing process of polycarbonate and is in addition to all previously announced increases," the producer said in a letter dated 28 January.
One concern is the US price of upstream benzene, which saw contract prices rise by an average increase of 38.5 cents/gal in December and 35.5 cents/gal in January. Spot prices reached record highs during the second week of January, although they have softened a little since then.
Styron's 8 cent/lb increase initiative affects its CALIBRE PC resins and EMERGE PC advanced resins.
The initiative also affects both of its PC/ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) blends - the PULSE engineering resins and PULSE PC/ABS advanced resins.
Additionally, Styron is seeking an increase of 5 cents/lb for its EMERGE PC/PET (polyethylene terephthalate) advanced resins.
However, some buyers believe that it will be hard for producers to implement increases because PC sales remain flat amid typically slow demand for the first quarter and no major production issues that would affect supply.
One buyer added that the post-industrial regrind and reprocessed resins industry is seeing China's Green Fence Policy increase supply in the US because sellers are not shipping material to China.
Additionally, raising PC prices in the Americas will be a challenge if suppliers in Asia and Europe are not increasing their prices at the same time.
Still, some market participants said the price hike initiatives may have a chance if other producers announce increases of their own and if "no one caves".
Last week, SABIC Innovative Plastics announced a 7 cent/lb increase for its PC resins and blends in the Americas, effective 24 February.
Bayer MaterialScience, the other major PC producer in the US, has not announced price increases.
Currently, ICIS has assessed the spot price of bulk general purpose moulding grade PC at $1.60-1.92/lb.
Follow Tracy on Twitter