Polycarbonate prices freeze / Glass fibre-reinforced polyamides down / Longer-term agreements stabilise PBT business / PMMA price will follow increase in cost of MMA
For the engineering thermoplastics, August proved to be a typical middle-of-the-quarter month. In other words, it was unspectacular. Polycarbonate prices, for example, did not budge from their last month’s level. As in the previous weeks, production facilities at many locations were operating at reduced capacity. Despite this, producers had no difficulty satisfying the low demand. They are, of course, keen to push through higher prices at some time or other, and, should demand increase further at the end of the main holiday season, they might be successful. On the other hand, existing quarterly contracts up to the end of September will hinder these endeavours.
The situation with the polyamides is very similar, with converters of glass fibre-reinforced types even benefitting from an end to the high-price phase, as prices fell at least by EUR 50/t. Despite increased prices for the feedstocks, producers were unable to do anything about it. As demand picks up after the end of the main holiday season, stocks are expected to shrink, and this, in combination with the still reduced production output, should lead to a balanced supply situation.
In the heavily regulated PBT business, longer-term agreements have meanwhile had a stabilising effect anyway. Although feedstocks along almost the entire chain have become noticeably more expensive since around May this year, producers have not had any success with passing on these costs to their customers. There are no indications here of any changes in sales volumes.
As things stand, it does not look as if there will be much movement in September either. Although demand as a whole is expected to pick up again, price increases are not on the horizon. This could, however, change suddenly from Q4. Present price increases, for example with the PMMA feedstock MMA, are clearly pointing the way.