Engineering Polymers - Europe May 2018
|Month: April 2018|
EPS market turned downwards in April, in line with the sharp drop of €125/ton in the styrene contracts. April EPS deals were mostly concluded with decreases of €120-130/ton, with players also pointing to the other bearish factors which exerted further downward pressure on the market. Demand remained rather weak, especially in the construction sector, with EPS converters buying only their restricted needs, given their thin end product business and their softer expectations for May. Supply, meanwhile, was said to be sufficient and no concerns emerged regarding material availability from European suppliers.
PA 6 prices followed a stable to softer path in April. An initial April caprolactam contract settled down by €14/ton in Europe while an initial April benzene contract settled €28/ton lower. Supplies for PA 6 remained more comfortable compared to PA 6,6. Sellers reported good demand as many converters who use to buy PA 6,6 decided to switch to PA 6 given the ampler supply levels. As for May, the market is expected to remain stable. Meanwhile, supply issues persisted for PA 6,6, although AND unit has been restarted while a distributor of BASF commented that the producer has not lifted the force majeure yet; therefore, he was able to secure only small quantities of PA 6,6 with his supplier announcing strong increases of €500/ton in his April PA 6,6 prices. A different distributor reported that availability remained tight and increases of €100-300/ton were announced in April prices. Meanwhile, a converter received import offer from Israel at €3020/ton, DDP and he was planning to secure some volumes, given tightness in the European market. PA 6,6 prices are widely expected to remain under an upward pressure in May, as supply tightness is not expected to ease soon.
The trend was firmer in the PC market in April, on the heels of short supply and good demand. According to a source close to Trinseo, the producer had initially announced increases of €100/ton in his PC prices for April, explaining that his supply was dwindling. Later in the month, the supplier applied further increases of €100/ton, given his tighter supply. Meanwhile, South Korean PC emerged on the low end of the ranges at €2900-3000/ton with a reseller commenting that supply for South Korean origins is ampler than European ones but it is dwindling as well. Overall supply is not expected to improve soon and players expect a new round of price increases on PC in May.
PBT prices posted increases of €100-150/ton in April. As was already anticipated, DSM announced increases of €150/ton in his April PBT prices, given tight supply and relatively good demand. Players generally reported that supply remained tight from most suppliers in the region while vivid demand may support new price increases in May.
POM market followed a bullish trend in April due to the persistently tight supply in the region. According to a source close to Celanese, the producer applied further increases of €300/ton on top of his initial hike target of €100/ton, given his short availability. POM sellers were able to supply only to their regular customers who placed their orders at the beginning of April. Meanwhile, South Korean POM emerged at €1700-1800/ton, posting smaller increases of €50/ton with a reseller commenting that his South Korean supplier was mulling over applying new price hikes in May. The tightness on POM mostly stems from supply issues of acetal resin which is expected to register price increases in May. Cost pressure and supply issues are expected to exert further pressure on POM market in May when prices are expected to register a new round of hikes.
PMMA prices posted increases between €50/ton and €200/ton in April. According to PMMA players, methacrylate is under the pressure of tightness, pushing up PMMA prices. Meanwhile, a source close to the French producer Arkema, reported that the producer was still facing supply shortness in its Italian unit. As for South Korean material, PMMA offers emerged at €3000-3200/ton with increases of €50-100/ton compared to March. Players generally expect that the firmer trend will remain in place in May, as supply is not expected to improve soon.
SAN prices witnessed decreases of €100-130/ton during April due to pressure stemming from the sharp drop in styrene contracts. A distributor of a major West European producer reported shorter availability from his supplier; therefore he decided to offer with smaller decreases of €100/ton compared to a €125/ton decrease for styrene. Meanwhile, imports did not offer a competitive edge compared to the local origins with Taiwanese SAN emerging at €1950/ton DDP. May prices are expected to emerge slightly lower, after May styrene contracts settled with small decreases of €40/ton.
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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