04/20/2015

PIE - Polymerprice Reports

Engineering Thermoplastics March 2015

Mixed bag / Polyamides and PBT slide once again / PC, POM and PMMA tread water / Commodity-related grades soar / Weak euro dampens imports

Developments on the European engineering thermoplastics front spanned a wide range in March. While polyamide and PBT notations slid a bit further in response to February´s tumble in oil prices, PC, POM and PMMA stabilised and moved sideways. In the latter case, a lack of imports - the result of the euro's weakness - had a calming effect. Notations for the more commodity ABS (see PIEWeb of 07.04.2015) and PP compounds (see PIEWeb of 07.04.2015), by contrast, soared in the wake of the virtual price explosion among standard thermoplastics.

Having bottomed out in March, April's benzene contract was fixed EUR 133/t higher. This will surely have a stabilising influence on derivatives PC, PA 6 and to a certain extent PA 6.6 as well, largely bringing to an end their downslide. The price of the more traditional engineering thermoplastics is also expected to stabilise.

Countering this trend are ABS and PP compounds, both of which are expected to rise strongly in the coming weeks. After adding EUR 175/t in March, the notation for the extremely tight styrene monomer skyrocketed by another EUR 300/t in April. Although at EUR 55/t, the propylene increase was comparatively moderate, its availability is also tightening, heralding further upward momentum.

Suppliers of other engineering thermoplastics will likely try to exploit this psychological uptrend to push through their own hikes. It will probably take some time, however, before the trend in the standard thermoplastics market has a belated, and much milder, impact on engineering thermoplastics prices.

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