Price pressure continues / Producers have trouble keeping notations stable / Automotive slump remains key concern / More reductions probable
A quick glance at the statistics would suggest relative stability with European prices of engineering thermoplastics in May. However, the reductions for PC and PA 6 in the middle of the quarter are an initial clue that appearances can be deceptive. The slump in car production coupled with the never-ending uncertainties in global trading policy are putting constant pressure on notations. Only with enormous effort were producers able in many areas to carry prices over, mostly with the aid of the quarterly agreements signed two months ago, and sometimes also by simply dispensing with sales.
The commodity-related materials are also relatively calm. ABS responded to the rise in the styrene reference with moderate increases. With PP compounds, the renewed rise in the propylene reference was frequently ignored.
Even if producers are still doing all they can to keep prices stable, the prospects of success again in June are not overwhelming. It is more likely that ever more breaches will appear in the defence bulwark. The automotive business is also unlikely to pick up in early summer. With this in mind, even considerable price cuts are not unlikely, especially with the polyamides and other automotive materials.