Market remains divided, prices present a mixed picture / No massive increases across the board in July / Will August see prices plunge after the fall in benzene contract?
The European market remained divided in July: as earlier, prices were still presenting a mixed picture. Despite the hefty increase in the cost of benzene (up EUR 386/t), there were no major price rises. Now, the enormous slump in the reference price for benzene (down EUR 663/t) can realistically only trigger a downward movement for engineering thermoplastic prices.
Among converters, there were many reports of production stoppages and extended company holidays because the number of incoming orders from customer industries (especially automotive) was – and still is – negligible. Ordering activity was restricted to only what was absolutely necessary. For August, there have up until now not been any large-scale price announcements. All the market players are playing the waiting game, with none of them daring to come out of hiding and put their price expectations on the table. The fall in the raw material prices would make major increases seem unlikely – more the opposite. The improved supply situation with the feedstocks plus the weak demand due to the holiday season will come together to put pressure on prices generally.
Producers are wisely holding back on their calls for higher prices, but that is certainly not the case with glass fibre producers who are trying to make an impression with, in some cases, fanciful ideas for price hikes. How much of this will actually become reality is difficult to estimate in view of the weak demand and favourable glass fibre offers from Turkey.