PIE - Polymerprice Reports

Engineering Thermoplastics January 2015

Price erosion gathers speed / Downtrend most acutely felt by benzene derivatives / POM and PMMA dance to their own tune / Numerous long-term agreements not yet fixed / Potential for further declines

As widely anticipated, the erosion in European engineering thermoplastics prices gathered speed in the first month of 2015. More commodity-like grades, including ABS and PP followed the trend in their respective material classes, shedding up to triple digits. As for the classic engineering materials, their proximity to benzene played a key role. While PA 6 prices proved to be almost as weak as those of PP compounds, the declines registered for PC were double the size of those of the previous months. In the smaller PA 6.6 and PBT markets, the downtrend was more generalizable, and remained comparatively moderate. Methanol-based POM continued to dance to its own tune, as notations largely held stable. By contrast, the tight market drove PMMA prices up once again.

While demand levels cannot be described as bad, the market does appear to be characterised by a certain measure of restraint. In expectation of future price declines, several processors refrained from ordering beyond their actual needs. A number of long-term agreements are still being negotiated, with the contracting partners so far failing to agree on a price. While producers are speculating on the stabilisation in upstream costs, their buyers and the end markets in general are adamant that the massive oil price slide still leaves room for additional declines. The latter will probably play a role in a number of freely negotiated monthly agreements in February. The extent of the decline will depend on the ratio between lower material prices and the widely expected economic effects from the oil price slide. Irrespective of this, demand is likely to pick up.

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