February 2021: Plastics Market Update

Plastics Market

 As we’ve said before, there are non-plastics related events that affect us all directly or indirectly, including now the weather, which has changed the supply of the market. Below is a synopsis of what we’ve seeing in the market since the last update.

Tightness in the Market Continues

February started off with updates from Sabic. They announced the startup of the Mount Vernon facility, which was originally scheduled to start around Thanksgiving but continuously pushed out again and again. Sabic specialties also announced lead times of 28 weeks, including their Si-PC product offering.

There have been engineering issues since trying to start back up in November. Lead time remains at 18-weeks for PC coming out of Sabic. 

Chinese New Year Pauses the Global Market

The Chinese New Year has begun, and typically lasts until the 22nd of February (though Asia is often slow to start back up). Prices for PC were up due to heavy demand before the start of CNY, and supply will be tight, continuing to short the North American market of imports.

On February 16th, Celanese declared a Force Majeure on Acetal, and on the 17th Covestro issued a letter outlining 3 main points about their material supply:

  • Continuation of the Force Majeure started in September after the hurricane.
  • They project their supply position recovering mid-year, and this is only if there are no further issues impacting their production plans.
  • Lead times for all grades were extended to 12-weeks.

On February 18th, Ineos extended lead times to 10 weeks for ABS products.

Now for the Weather…

Cold, ice and snowy weather began slamming North America, from Colorado to the East Coast, becoming the news story for February. This affected the world of polymers, not just the NA supply. The polymerization and monomer refineries in the south immediately shut down, as they’re not insulated to run in these conditions like they are in northern states. This prompted many Force Majeures, starting with Sabic’s announcement of a FM on PC (as the Mt.Vernon facility has yet to get up and running, and their Burkeville facility being shut down due to bad weather).

Dupont also quickly announced a force majeure on all materials across the board, and Sabic also announced another for their ABS out of Mexico. We expect to see additional force majeures and other supply chain disruptions as we see difficulty in restarting production facilities and in freight logistics, and for these effects to continue through the first half of 2021.

To Reiterate:

To reiterate, we will take care of base business customers first and are not taking on new customers unless we know we can support our base business! You are our valued partner, and Star Plastics appreciates and values your business. Please email us at or your local Star Plastics representative with questions.