ABS and PC feel the after-effects of July´s benzene contract rise / Other materials mostly stable / Costs remain high despite a slight relaxation
The increase in July's benzene contract had a knock-on effect on European PC and ABS prices in August. Producers´ attempts to push through even higher increases nevertheless failed - for one due to the relaxation in the upstream market that began to set in during the course of the month, and also since business started to slow down a little. All the other engineering plastics remained more or less stable. Despite the decline in the propylene contract, the fact that orders indexed to C3 did not move down a level meant PP compound prices also rolled over.
However, following the latest EUR 50/t fall in September´s propylene contract, it is fairly certain that PP compound prices will decline, too. With SM falling by the same amount, ABS is also coming under increasing pressure. Despite the relaxation on the benzene front, pressure on the aromatic derivatives PC and PA remains. With benzene still above the EUR 1,000/t mark (it now stands at EUR 1,039/t), a latent upward pressure prevails. On the demand side, on the other hand, business appears to be slowing down, especially in the core automotive sector. Should this trend solidify, the entire year might turn into a small nightmare for engineering thermoplastics producers. Amid little demand, their chances at passing on the higher costs will evaporate and they may even be forced to grant price concessions.
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