Notations shoot up / Worst fears come true / Triple-digit increases / Customers on allocation everywhere / Delivery times lengthen / No end in sight to the drama
In January, buyers´ worst fears came true on the European market for engineering thermoplastics. Dramatic supply bottlenecks led to widespread triple-digit hikes for the big engineering plastics such as PC, PA and PBT. Buyers could consider themselves fortunate if they were able to get hold of any material at all. Customer allocations were the rule rather than the exception, and delivery times extended to almost absurd dimensions of 25 weeks and more. In contrast, POM stayed where it was. For the much troubled PMMA, it seems at least that the end of the line has been reached. The commodity-related materials ABS and PP compounds moved hand in hand with the comparatively small increases in the respective precursors.
February will see further increases - there can be little doubt about that. Especially PA 6.6 and presumably the still rather sleepy POM will probably experience triple-digit increases. With PC, PA 6 and PBT, the rises could be a little less, but prices will nevertheless also move up. And now, to make matters even worse, ABS is threatened with triple-digit hikes because of the renewed leap in the cost of styrene. With PP compounds, too, the upward pressure has increased considerably. PMMA, on the other hand, which has plenty of experience in the high-price region, is looking fairly stable on the high ground it has since reached.