Engineering Polymers - Europe March 2018
|Month: March 2018|
EPS market remained on a firmer trend this month after March styrene contracts settled €55/ton higher as largely expected. However, European sellers scaled down their initial hike targets of €65/ton during the month and March EPS deals were concluded with smaller increases of €20-30/ton both in the spot and contract markets. In the import market, a buyer secured Turkish EPS at a competitive level of €1560/ton DDP, which is €140/ton lower compared to the low end of the overall local ranges. As for April, players expect three-digit decreases in the next styrene settlement given the restart of some styrene units and the recent losses in the spot monomer market. However, the size of the awaited decreases which may pass on April EPS deals is not clear yet. Demand slowed down during March as bearish expectations for April styrene contracts pushed EPS buyers to limit their fresh purchases this month.
PA 6 prices followed a stable to firmer path this month. An initial March caprolactam contract settled with rollovers to small decreases of €5/ton in Europe while an initial March benzene contract settled €5/ton lower FD NWE. Supplies for PA 6 were still more comfortable than PA 6,6. Nevertheless, a source reported that Butachimie’s force majeure on ADN output has not been lifted yet. Therefore, supply issues remained in place for PA 6,6 in particular while PA 6 supply has also started to dwindle and stocks are not expected to come back to regular levels soon. A reseller reported that he has already applied increases of €100/ton on his PA 6 prices in March as he has only limited stocks. Plus, strike actions in France are expected to affect ADN supply further, causing concerns among players for the short term PA 6 and PA 6,6 outlook. A reseller of two major European producers reported that he is planning to increase his PA 6 prices in April as he expects better demand and there are supply concerns in the market. PA 6,6 supply remained short this month, exerting further pressure on prices. PA 6,6 prices indicate large increases from €100/ton up to €300-400/ton with respect to February. A few players commented that European producers supplied only their regular customers in the contract market this month. As for April, new increases are on the horizon as PA producer DSM had already announced hike targets of €175/ton on his PA prices for April. Players expect PA 6,6 prices to follow suit next month. However, PA 6 market is expected to post relatively smaller increases. Some players argued that many PA 6,6 buyers may switch to PA 6, which may boost demand for PA 6 in April.
The trend was stable to firmer in the PC market in March. According to a source close to Trinseo, the producer announced rollovers on his PC prices for March, explaining that they had already applied strong increases in the previous months. Locally held South Korean PC offers emerged on the high ends of the ranges at €3100-3200/ton. A reseller commented that his supplier is mulling over a new round of price hikes for new shipments. In the import market, a different reseller offers PC from South Korea at €3350/ton on DDP basis, with delivery scheduled in May. Meanwhile, overall supply is said to be still tight in the region.
PBT prices remained stable on the low end of the overall price ranges while a supplier reported to have applied increases of €50/ton on the high end compared to February given tight supply and good demand. As for April, increases of €150/ton were announced by DSM on tight supply and robust demand. Plus, imports are limited. Meanwhile, a distributor reported that he has already announced increases of €100/ton on his April PBT prices in the face of short availability. On the contrary, a reseller of a European producer reported that he is planning to maintain his prices in April as he had already lifted his prices during the Q1 of 2018. .
POM prices saw increases of €100/ton compared to February, as was widely expected, given the ongoing tight supply. The upward pressure was also visible for non-European origins as locally held offers for South Korean material emerged €100-150/ton higher at €1650-1750/ton . Meanwhile, import prices have been also under an upward pressure. A reseller reported to have offered South Korean POM with increases of €100/ton at €1800-1850/ton, with delivery scheduled in late April/early May. He commented that volumes are limited. Polish POM, on the contrary, witnessed smaller increases of €60/ton to be reported at €1660/ton, which stands close to the low end of the overall ranges. As for April, players expect to see renewed increases due to the persistently tight supply in the region.
Spot PMMA prices posted increases of €50-100/ton compared to February levels. Players reported that supply remained extremely tight. Taiwanese material emerged at €2950- 3000/ton, with sources confirming dwindled supplies from the overseas markets. A reseller of a European producer reported that he has no availability this month. Meanwhile, negotiations for March MMA contracts are still underway and players expect a stable to higher outcome given the pressure stemming from output issues and turnarounds in the region.
SAN prices opened the month of March on a firmer note due to €55/ton higher styrene contracts. Accordingly, European sellers revealed their SAN prices with increases of €50/ton. Expectations for April styrene contracts were centered on a sharp drop of around €100/ton before the recent rebound in the energy complex. However, players are now expecting smaller decreases of €50-70/ton in the next styrene contract, which is likely to pave the way for a softer trend in the SAN market next month.
Price ranges reported include an average freight cost to the customers’ location as well as duties if applicable, although VAT is not included.
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