US polyethylene (PE) producer Chevron Phillips Chemical announced it will implement a 6 cent/lb ($132/tonne) increase on all grades of the resin, effective on 1 April, sources said on 20 February. The proposed increase is in addition to a 4 cent/lb increase announced for 1 February, which market participants say appears to be finding acceptance. The increase, announced in an 18 February customer letter, does not reference March prices.
So far, only Dow Chemical has announced a March increase, calling for a 6 cent/lb increase effective on 1 March.
Sources said it appears that effort will fail, with no other major PE producers supporting a March price hike.
Market participants said they did not know what to make of the April price increase announcement that came from Chevron Phillips, saying it is far too early to know what prices will do in April.
Some said it is likely related to the number of cracker turnarounds planned for April, which is expected to cause some tightness for feedstock ethylene.
One market participant said the announcement by Chevron Phillips might be related to the company’s position as a major producer in the high density polyethylene (HDPE) market.
Many of the recent supply disruptions in the PE market have been related to the HDPE sector, and it is possible HDPE supplies will remain tight through April, the source said.
Current prices for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) butene film were at 79-81 cents/lb DEL (delivered), linear low density polyethylene (LDPE) film prices were at 88-90 cents/lb DEL and HDPE blow moulding prices were at 79-71 cents/lb DEL, for small volume buyers, as assessed by ICIS.