Engineering Polymers - Europe February 2017
|Month: February 2017|
EPS prices surged for the fourth month in a row, posting hefty hikes of €230-250/ton from January. February styrene contracts were settled €260/ton higher from January. The new prices caused agitation among buyers, who were struggling to reflect higher costs on their end products. An insulation converter commented that their customers in the carpentry sector may divert their purchasing interest from EPS to the alternative products such as polyurethane and mineral wool, which are more competitively priced. However, EPS demand was satisfactory as buyers purchased some extra allocations ahead of higher expectations for March. Regarding supply, players noted that a European producer closed their order books for EPS in the second half of the month, adding to the upward pressure on March prices. Furthermore, styrene supply in Europe is limited due to some turnarounds and a strong demand from the USA. As for March, players anticipate another round of three digit increases on the styrene contracts, up to €150/ton; however they think that the trend might be stable to softer starting from April as EPS reached really high levels. Converters hope that EPS prices will not decrease swiftly once supply constraints ease as this could affect their margins on their end products.
PA6 and PA 6,6 prices continued to track massive increases in February. PA6 prices surged by €300-350/ton, while PA 6,6 prices rose by €100-150/ton from January. Caprolactam prices increased by around €250-260/ton in February while February benzene contracts were settled up €177/ton at 983/ton. Players cited tight availability and rising costs as the main reasons behind the hefty hikes. Buyers confirmed reduced availability in the market saying that some European suppliers have already closed their PA6 and PA 6,6 order books in early February or they delayed their deliveries. As for March, benzene contracts are expected to settle with rollovers to decreases, while butadiene contracts settled with hefty hikes of €350/ton from February at €1750/ton. Players think that the upward trend will persist in March, adding that tight supply and rising costs are paving the way for further increases of €100-200/ton on downstream PA markets.
PC prices posted additional increases of €100-150/ton from January, supported by higher benzene. Players noted that some European producers are delaying their deliveries on the back of shorter supply. For this reason, players anticipate further firming in March, even if benzene contracts are expected to settle with rollovers to decreases.
SAN prices posted massive hikes of €150-200/ton from January following February styrene contracts which settled €260/ton higher. Sellers reported that demand was satisfactory since buyers did some pre-buying activity following firmer expectations for March. On the other hand, some converters reduced their production rates to cope with higher SAN costs. Upstream, styrene supply in Europe is limited for some plant shutdowns in the region and a strong demand from the USA. Players think that supply concerns on styrene monomer will not ease soon and they exclude the possibility to see a reversal trend in the short term. For this reason, March expectations are emerging with three digit increases of up to €150/ton on the awaited styrene contracts.
PBT prices were unchanged from January. Demand and supply dynamics were said to be balanced. Buyers purchased regular quantities for February without experiencing any delivery issues.
POM prices rose by €80-100/ton in February, as anticipated in the previous analysis. Players cited reducing supplies and higher costs as the main reasons behind the increases. European origins posted three digit hikes, supported by reduced imports from Asia. Meanwhile, prices for locally-held cargos from Asia followed a similar trend standing at €1400-1430/ton.
PMMA ranges were stable from last month; but spot and contract prices posted cumulative increases of €150/ton up to now. Prices are €150/ton higher from the last quarter of 2016. Players are sure that the upward trend will be extended into the Q2, citing PMMA shortage stemming from globally tight MMA monomer availability due to several plant shutdowns. Furthermore, imports from Asia are said to be limited for the same reasons. PMMA demand has been good on short supplies. February spot deals were concluded with three digit increases, with players anticipating further hikes of €100-200/ton in March.
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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