Engineering Polymers - Europe November 2018
|Month: November 2018|
The EPS market preserved its bearish trend in November, following the sharp drops of €170/ton in styrene contracts while November benzene contracts settled with minor decreases of €24/ton in Europe. Players reported that EPS prices did not reflect the full monomer drops and November deals were concluded with decreases of €100-130/ton from October as sellers were able to hold part of the monomer drops in order to recoup their margins this month. A source at a South European producer, who had initially announced decreases of €90/ton in his November EPS prices, reported to have concluded his deals with major rebates of €100-130/ton in the face of thin buying interest from converters’ side this month. In the meantime, buyers have not reported supply concerns, despite the force majeure at BASF unit in Ludwigshafen, Germany, given the overall quiet demand. As for import, Iranian material was reported again at competitive prices, at €1250-1310/ton, on DDP basis; however, only a few buyers decided to secure some import volumes as their interest towards Iranian EPS remained scarce due to the delivery in bags. Expectations for December are calling for fresh decreases on the heels of falling energy markets and weaker spot styrene prices which hint to a new hefty drop in the December styrene’s outcome.
PA6 prices remained on a stable to slightly softer trend in November in the face of overall quiet demand amidst comfortable supply in the market while the November benzene contract settled €24/ton lower. A few European producers reported to have closed their November deals with rollovers to small decreases of €20-40/ton from October while players concurred that demand was generally thin ahead of the year-end for the main PA6 applications. Most buyers, meanwhile, reported that they will keep low inventories in December because of quiet end-product business and the planned maintenance shutdowns at their plants during the Christmas lull. Hence, December expectations are mostly centered on a stable trend, while rumors about a possible upturn in the medium term are voiced among market participants who cited the expected improvement of demand in 2019 due to the persistent tightness in PA66 and the current wide gap between PA6 and PA66 prices.
The PA66 market was still dominated by the persistent tightness in Europe, shrugging off the weaker energy costs and the strong drops in the November butadiene contract which settled down by €100/ton. Some players reported to have closed their November deals with rollovers compared to October as they use to fix quarterly prices. The West European producer Lanxess, meanwhile, applied fresh sharp increases of €600/ton which are said to be valid until the end of 2018 due to their tight availability. Plus, a South European producer declared force majeure at its PA66 unit due to logistics issues and transportation disruptions of feedstocks stemming from the low water levels at River Rhine. Meanwhile, buyers’ interest started to shift towards import material, with PA66 from Israel dealt at €4100/ton and Chinese material at €4100-4200/ton, both on DDP basis. A reseller reported to have offered PA66 from Brazil at €4600/ton DDP. Meanwhile, material from the US was offered at €4500/ton with local terms and a reseller reported to have been supplied with only 50% of regular allocations. Official list prices at some European producers’ side are expected to reach and even break the €5000/ton threshold in December. The medium and long-term outlook remains bullish as supply is not expected to come back to normal levels at least until the second quarter of 2019.
The PC market witnessed fresh massive decreases in November on the heels of weak demand amidst comfortable supply in the region and pressure from imports. November deals were mostly concluded with decreases between €100/ton and €500/ton from October with players commenting that the slump in the automotive sector continued to weigh down on the market. Meanwhile, November benzene contract settled slightly down by €24/ton in Europe. As for imports, players reported that more volumes have started to show up from Far East and China, following the new capacities in the region; however, prices have yet to offer a competitive edge with respect to the European origins. The overall range for PC general purpose from South Korea was reported at €2300-2450/ton and at €2000/ton from China, on DDP basis while PC injection emerged at €2000-2350/ton with the same terms. PC inj. from Saudi Arabia was dealt at €2200/ton DDP. As for December, players expect mostly a stable to slightly softer trend.
PBT prices did not post significant changes in November while a few sellers already anticipated that increases are on the horizon in December on the back of the expected improvement of demand due to the lack of PA66 in the market. A distributor of Lanxess reported that the producer is planning to apply increases of €200/ton for December and January while DSM concluded its November deals with rollovers compared to October. Meanwhile, a reseller of Far Eastern material concluded his November business at €2200/ton with local terms while he already anticipated increases of €100/ton in his December prices. In the meantime, import from Saudi Arabia showed up at a price standing €300/ton below the low end of overall local range, at €1800/ton DDP.
The POM market tracked a stable trend in November amid balanced fundamentals despite the still rather tight acetal resin availability. Celanese applied rollovers on his November prices, after they lifted the force majeure at their US plant; however, a distributor of the producer has already anticipated that they are mulling over possible price hikes in December. As for locally-held material from Far East, the overall range matches the European origins, standing at €1850-2000/ton.
PMMA prices preserved their stable trend in November, with players reporting that demand was thin due to the slowdown of the automotive sector while supply was comfortable in the region. Distributors of Arkema and DuPont reported to have concluded their November deals with rollovers. As for imports, PMMA inj. from South Korea was offered at €2900-3000/ton, on DDP basis. Players expressed mostly stable expectations for December given the expected thin activities ahead of the year-end.
The SAN market followed a bearish trend in November on the heels of strong drops in the styrene contract which settled down by €170/ton in Europe. However, sellers succeeded in avoiding to concede to the entire monomer fall and November deals were mostly concluded with decreases of €100-130/ton from October. Meanwhile, import material from South Korea was offered at €1600-1620/ton DDP. The SAN market is largely expected to remain bearish in December given the awaited fresh strong decreases in styrene contracts for December and quiet demand ahead of the year-end. However, sellers are likely to concede to smaller decreases than the awaited tumble in the styrene’s outcome in their December SAN prices as it was the case in November.
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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