Lower flat-rate energy fees, weak demand put pressure on prices / Only PMMA escapes trend / More pressure expected in December
In November, prices of nearly all engineering thermoplastics continued the downward trend of the previous months on the Western European market. The main reasons were the reduction in the flat-rate energy fees, the pressure on prices through cheap imports, and the generally weak demand. Added to this came the efforts made by converters to reduce their stocks. Even the EUR 42/t rise in the cost of benzene affecting some upstream materials was unable to counter this adverse situation.
The only material that was able to escape the downward trend was PMMA. In fact, producers were even able to push through higher prices there because the European market uses predominantly speciality products, and the pressure caused by the imports of standard material thus more or less vanished.
In December, too, PMMA is likely to remain the only material where quotations will buck the general trend. This is because, with the other engineering thermoplastics, the weak demand will continue to choke the prices, and the shortness of the Christmas month of December will do the rest. Furthermore, the benzene contract for the last month of the year fell by EUR 196/t.