Most grades roll over / Only polyamides on the decline / Benzene crash to overshadow April / E&E sector could stabilise prices for POM and PBT
With the exception of the natural polyamide grades, which saw continuing erosion, producers were largely able to salvage their respective prices in March – helped by the quarterly agreements. In the case of PA 6, the surplus tendency affecting base resin triggered a downward reaction, while PA 6.6 saw its previously high price crumble again after having a short breather last month. In view of the weak demand, there were few reports of supply problems, particularly as Chinese facilities are resuming operations again.
The enormous slump in prices in the aromatics chain (benzene topped the list with a EUR 400/t plunge) will put a definite end to any hopes producers had of raising prices in April. On the contrary, they will find it difficult to limit the triple-digit reductions – and that against the background of subdued demand. Only POM and PBT could buck the trend since the E&E sector is still ordering at a solid rate in contrast to the automotive industry, which is out for the count.
Instead, there could be attempts to shorten the market through speculative stocking up. Producers hope, should demand pick up again in the second half of 2020, that prices will be somewhat higher. For the first time, they are asking converters to estimate their requirements until the end of this year in order to be able to plan things better.