PIE - Polymerprice Reports

Engineering Thermoplastics March 2014

Benzene derivatives show first signs of a rise / Livelier demand / Imports quash producers´ hopes of lifting price of standard materials / Hikes likely as new quarter gets underway

The upward trend in European engineering thermoplastics prices, which first became apparent in February, continued into March. The surge was led by benzene-based materials. Although the availability of cheap import alternatives kept the rises for both PC and POM in check, notations for more specialised or reinforced grades also rose before the new quarter even got underway. There was a clear upward trend for the entire polyamide portfolio.

PMMA producers were still waiting in the wings with price initiatives, holding back until the onset of the new quarter. PBT notations also remained stable. Following the global decline in the relevant feedstocks, the price of engineering polyester grades started to crumble. As for styrene copolymers, ABS prices followed in the footsteps of the SM decline . By contrast, stable feedstock prices meant PP compound notations actually stayed put.

With a view towards April and beyond, prices of benzene derivatives and POM at least are likely to rise across a broad front. The stability afforded by the earlier Q1 contracts has dissipated, as many agreements for the new quarter have already been fixed at a higher rate, while players are still in the midst of discussing the extent of the hike for other quarterly contracts. The upward momentum will also affect the freely negotiated monthly orders reflected by the PIE ranges. The commodity-related ABS and PP segments are also looking firmer. The only product to buck the trend is PBT, where lower costs continue to exert downward pressure.

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