Red-Hot U.S. PVC Rally Is Latest Sign of Soaring Consumer Prices
(Bloomberg) -- A key building material used in everything from water pipes to window frames jumped to a fresh record high in the U.S., providing inflation bulls with even more ammunition as consumer prices soar.
Hurricane Ida knocked more than 60% of America’s polyvinyl chloride production offline, according to data provider ICIS. It’s the latest hit to a Gulf Coast industry after a historic freeze in February triggered widespread outages. The price rally is reverberating around the world: The U.S. is now the biggest exporter of PVC, after the shale boom led to a surge in petrochemical production in recent years.
“We’re now hearing some buyers there are looking to Asia for supply at the moment,” Jeremy Pafford, head of North America at ICIS, said by email. “Expectations are that the tight supply situation will continue for several weeks.”
U.S. Gulf Coast export PVC prices were assessed at $1,900 a metric tonne for the week of Sept. 10, up 28% since the beginning of the year, according to ICIS.
There may be more rallies to come. The price of ethane, a byproduct of natural gas and a key feedstock for everyday plastics including PVC, is up 25% so far this month and on Thursday reached the highest in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gas prices, meanwhile, are hovering near a seven-year high.
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