From paints to plastics, chemical shortage ignites prices
September 30, 2021
In an economy upended by the coronavirus, shortages and price spikes have hit everything from lumber to computer chips. Not even toilet paper escaped.
Now, they're cutting into one of the humblest yet most vital links in the global manufacturing supply chain: The plastic pellets that go into a vast universe of products ranging from cereal bags to medical devices, automotive interiors to bicycle helmets.
Like other manufacturers, petrochemical companies have been shaken by the pandemic and by how consumers and businesses responded to it. Yet petrochemicals, which are made from oil, have also run into problems all their own, one after another: A freak winter freeze in Texas. A lightning strike in Louisiana. Hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.