Engineering Polymers - Europe March 2017
|Month: March 2017|
EPS prices posted increases of €70-90/ton in March, hitting all-time highs both in the spot and contract markets. Sellers are destocking and they toned down their initial hike requests, citing slack demand and softer expectations for April. A distributor noted that a Central European producer experienced some production issues at their plant in Czech Republic, but they were provided with enough allocations to cover March inquiries. On the other hand, buyers limited their purchases to their immediate needs only as they thought that PS prices were too expensive and players reported a few transactions with increases slightly below the styrene contract hikes of €90/ton for March. Upstream, April expectations are calling for sharp reductions of at least €100-150/ton from March on the styrene contracts.
PA6 and PA 6,6 prices surged for another month by around €200/ton compare to March. Prices below €2300/ton for PA6 and €2600/ton for PA 6,6, which were available in early March, have disappeared from the market later on the back of rising costs and dwindling supplies. Upstream, caprolactam prices have increased by €100-150/ton in March in Europe, while April butadiene contracts were settled with rollovers from March at €1750/ton FD NWE. Benzene contracts are awaited lower for April. Sellers noted that demand for PA6 and PA 6,6 was satisfactory while supply was tight. For this reason, they anticipate further increases from €100/ton to €200/ton in April. Indeed, supply-demand dynamics are expected to counterbalance decreasing costs. Players reminded that there are some plant shutdowns in China and players in Asia are importing this material from Europe, which leads to further tightening in PA6 and PA 6,6 availability.
PC prices increased further by €100/ton in March on rising costs and reduced supplies. Players noted that the current PC prices are mostly theoretical as European PC producers have long delivery times of 9-12 weeks. A distributor added that their West European supplier was not procuring any material this month, but they were able to sell from their existing stocks to their regular customers only. As for April, benzene contracts are awaited lower; however, limited supply is expected to counterbalance softer prices. Some players expect further increases for April on PC tightness.
PBT prices were generally unchanged from the previous month, except for the low ends of the ranges as prices below €2000/ton faded away from the market. Players expect to see no major changes for April.
POM prices for European origins were mostly stable from the previous month. A reseller noted that demand for copolymer grades was vivid and they were running out of stocks after his West European supplier sold out their monthly allocations for March. As for the import market, players reported increases of €200/ton from Far Eastern suppliers and trading activity was limited amid tight supply and higher prices.
PMMA prices were stable from the previous month on the high ends, while the low ends posted increases of €100/ton amidst the absence of competitive locally-held prices for non-European material. Distributors are keeping low stocks considering firmer prices, while buyers reported that supply remains tight due to a regional shutdown, but their suppliers provided regular allocations to them. Players reported that quarterly prices have been settled with increases of €150/ton for Q1, while tight PMMA and MMA supplies are paving the way for another round of three digit increases in Q2.
SAN prices increased further by €100/ton in March on higher styrene settlement. Players noted that the increase amount was relatively smaller than ABS as SAN costs were not affected by surging butadiene prices. Supply and demand dynamics were said to be balanced, while import prices lost their competitiveness against European origins. Locally-held prices for South Korean cargoes have been reported at €2100-2150/ton FD. As for April, players anticipate three digit decreases on the styrene contracts, suggesting a reversal trend on SAN prices.
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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