Significant price cuts with only a few exceptions / Demand from auto production still poor / Producers´ output control begins to have effect
Most engineering thermoplastics covered by this report came under pressure in May, but to a varying extent. Western European prices of the less specified and natural polyamide grades dropped to a larger extent, primarily because these responded to the price reductions of the corresponding base resins. The decreases with the PA 6 grades were slightly more marked than with PA 6.6. Reinforced grades, flame-retardant types and other modified grades rolled over. Due to the influences of the additives, discussions about prices rarely took place.
PBT and POM remained stable, due firstly to producers’ measures to control supply and secondly to the lower import activity. The latest fashion – which is currently spilling over from the standard polymers – is the offer of potential end-of-year bonuses in order to avoid granting additional price concessions.
On the demand side, although most car production lines were up and running again, even the large component suppliers say they are working at most at a fifth of usual capacity. China ordered somewhat more, but still nowhere near former levels. In Europe, business will presumably remain slow over the next few weeks. The only rays of light came from the E&E and construction sectors, although here there are also signs of a slowdown.
In June, most engineering polymer prices should continue trending down. Reductions are likely even with PBT, which has remained stable until now. Polycarbonate is likely to top the list with a significant decline. Exceptions are PMMA, where producers are particularly keen to push up prices – although this will presumably not take effect until July – and POM, where producers’ measures to control supply are taking effect. Minor price increases are possible here, depending on the specification and application.