Prices take off / Ascent has begun / Cost pressure and bottlenecks will continue to drive notations this month / Buyers increasingly desperate in search for materialAs had been feared, engineering thermoplastic prices in Europe lifted off on a broad front in December despite the normally slack business at the end of the year. In many places, the heavy cost pressure was exacerbated by continuing bottlenecks. Many buyers had to venture into the remotest of areas in the search for affordable volumes. In fact, in a number of segments the term "affordable" has taken on a new meaning, as many customers were happy to get hold of any material at all. In the meantime, ABS prices rose significantly as a consequence of the increase in the SM reference. PP compounds also took on board the increase in propylene feedstock, but the rise was more moderate.