Many resin prices hit bottom in April and May due to a combination of evaporating demand and steep price drops for oil in North America. June and July have brought rebounds even though demand has not fully recovered, primarily because of increases in natural gas and oil prices, as well as growing demand for exports to recovering economies. Opportunities to lock in savings exist with many resin grades, but the situation remains dynamic and opportunities vary widely.
One example is PP extrusion film. According to data from Plastics News, pricing bottomed out in May with a slight uptick in June and July (Plastics News, Plastics Resin Pricing – Commodity Thermoplastics). However, pricing is still down 11% from the beginning of 2020, and down almost 40% from two years ago. Prices are still well below 2009 lows.
In contrast, injection grade HDPE has remained relatively low since early 2018 due to historically low natural gas prices. While pricing remains near 2009 levels, it’s been fairly stable for 18 months, with only a small drop in April and a small increase in June.