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US Plastics Prices Seen Extending Decline in US as Glut Emerges

Demand is softening in key export markets while US production is still expanding

Discarded plastic bottles made of high density polyethylene.

Discarded plastic bottles made of high density polyethylene.

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

US plastics prices are likely to keep falling from their post-pandemic highs amid rising production and slowing demand, providing some good news for consumers such as auto manufacturers who have been struggling with surging raw material inflation since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The contract price for high density polyethylene, or HDPE, a closely watched benchmark in the plastics industry, is set to extend declines this year, according to industry analysts, who cite weaker spot prices. Export spot prices for US HDPE are down by 12.5 cents per pound, or 21%, since the beginning of January, according to ICIS.