Houston — Westlake Chemical has shifted its 3 cents/lb domestic polyvinyl chloride price increase, originally announced for December, to February, according to a customer letter seen by S&P Global Platts.
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The letter, dated Jan. 5, said the February increase is in addition to a 4 cents/lb increase that Westlake already announced for January.
Formosa Plastics USA already had shifted its 3 cents/lb price increase originally announced for December to February, and Shintech announced a 3 cents/lb increase for February as well.
Formosa, Shintech, and OxyChem, the chemical division of Occidental Petroleum, also have announced 4 cents/lb price increases for domestic PVC to be effective in January. OxyChem had announced a 3 cents/lb price increase for November, which was not accepted, and had not announced an increase of that amount for February, market sources said.
Market sources said they anticipate the increases will be largely accepted, given expected continued tight US supply. While Formosa and Westlake in December lifted force majeure events on US PVC that were declared in August, supply tightness was expected to continue as OxyChem and Shintech prepare for upcoming March turnarounds. OxyChem has planned work slated at its 1 million mt/year PVC plant in Pasadena, Texas, and Shintech has the same coming up at its 1.4 million mt/year Freeport, Texas, PVC operation.
Producers typically stockpile volumes ahead of turnarounds to ensure they can fulfill contracts when plants are shut for work.
US domestic and export PVC prices have reached all-time highs amid tight supply and strong demand. Domestic prices were last assessed Dec. 23 at 67-69 cents/lb ($1,477-$1,521/mt), the highest since S&P Global Platts began assessing the market in 2001. Export prices were last assessed Dec. 23 At $1,445-$1,455/mt FAS Houston, the highest since Platts began assessing that market in 1983.
US housing starts data illustrates continued strong demand for the construction staple used to make pipes, window frames, vinyl siding, and other products. PVC demand typically wanes seasonally during the winter months, but that trend did not emerge in late 2020 amid a continued push for new dwellings.