PIE - Polymer Price Reports

Engineering thermoplastics February 2024

Weak demand keeps calls for increases tight / Still no spring revival / Imports improve supply

The benzene contract rose EUR 214/t in February and lifted PC prices at the same time. However, the still weak demand kept the upward trend within reasonable limits. Most European compounding lines are still operating with reduced output, irrespective of the particular type. The much hoped-for spring revival in demand has largely failed to materialise. Driven by the fear that prices could rise further, some converters nevertheless decided to replenish stocks.

The benzene contract for March was also fixed EUR 214/t higher. This, in combination with less competitive imports, is likely to drive prices up significantly. The increases announced by a number of producers also mean that appreciable price rises can be expected. For some types, producers are even looking for triple-digit hikes. This would, however, seem to be barely feasible in view of the fact that many converters have since built up their stock levels. As far as supply is concerned, there are no changes on the horizon, and basic demand also remains significantly below normal. Most importantly, there is no stimulus whatsoever coming from the key automotive sector.

PBT and POM diverged from the trend: once again, the market was too long for compounders to obtain the increases they wanted. Although the tendency towards declining prices slowed down a little, there was certainly no sign of any trend turnaround. Despite the fact that output from European production continued to be cut back, compounders still had considerable stocks at their disposal. In addition, more imports began arriving on the European market.

In view of the weak demand from their customers, converters are still buying only what they need to fill existing orders. Compounders’ hopes of higher prices for their products are unlikely to be fulfilled in March either, and a rollover is the most likely outcome despite the liquid market.

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