PIE - Polymer Price Reports

Engineering thermoplastics January 2024

First down, then up – divided picture at start of year / Fewer, more expensive imports / Some stock-building activities expected for February

The European engineering thermoplastics market in January presented a divided picture – in the first half, prices of many types declined significantly, because, although the benzene contract was up EUR 11/t, the market remained liquid. In the second half of the month, the picture was just the opposite, as prices turned around and, in the case of some speciality products, they even ended up higher than before.

Far fewer imports arrived in Europe than of late. The rise in logistics costs from Asia had a major influence here. European production continued to run with reduced output. Although overall demand was still weak, there was a little more life on the market due to a few stock-building activities and increasing concern about rising prices because of the supply chain chaos linked with the situation around the Red Sea.

The benzene contract for February was fixed EUR 214/t higher. This, together with the less competitive imports, is likely to stop the downward price slide, and with some types a considerable reversal is possible. Exceptions such as PBT and POM prove the rule. In many cases, sufficient stocks are available, so supply should remain long despite the cutbacks in European production and the reduction in the volume of imports. Because there does not seem to be any imminent prospect of substantial changes in demand from the customer industries, converters are likely to continue to proceed cautiously and fill up their stocks only when special offers become available.

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