June rollover repeats itself in July / Exception is PMMA that goes through the roof due to dramatic shortage of MMA / Subdued demand in the holiday period puts pressure on prices
With the exception of polycarbonate, which saw the first minor reductions for less specified grades, engineering thermoplastics stayed in rollover mode in June. Not even the small decline in the benzene notation was able to exert an effect. In contrast, the situation with PMMA remained dramatic, as prices kept stable only because of the ongoing quarterly contracts despite the drastic shortage of MMA. Demand was solid, especially from automotive and E&E, although on the whole business was a little quieter than in the previous month. Delivery times were considerably lengthened in some cases.
In July, the start of the new quarter is likely to see a split in producers´ policy for certain types: high-grade materials will in some cases become significantly more expensive, while standard types will become noticeably cheaper. The net result will probably be a rollover again. Looking ahead at the upcoming holiday season, things should calm down a little, with ordering from the automotive segment in particular gradually slowing down.
With PA 6, large quantities of cheap feedstocks from Asia have been sighted on the market. In the light of declining raw material costs, converters are also pushing for price cuts on compounds. Sister polymer PA 6.6 could be hit by a certain bottleneck in the availability of the cyclohexane component, although the exact repercussions are not yet obvious.
The jump in the price of PMMA originally expected at the beginning of Q2 was postponed to the beginning of the third quarter. There are reports of calls for massive increases of 20% and more, although there is not much room for debate about them being implemented. Everyone is hoping for on-spec material from the new plant in Saudi Arabia, but, as things stand, such products are unlikely to reach Europe before October.