Stable prices across the board / Automotive industry forecasts weak demand until 2021 / Lamps and lights expected to do well in the dark months / Price rises at the start of the new quarter?
Like August, September proved to be unspectacular as regards engineering thermoplastic prices on the European market. Whether it was polycarbonate, polyamide, PBT, POM or PMMA, all the plastic types covered by this report remained unchanged compared with the previous month. The “Plastixx TT” polymer price index nevertheless pointing slightly up (see graph) can be attributed to ABS, which is not reported on here.
Producers were unsuccessful in their bids to pass on the announced and implemented price increases for the base polymers and intermediates. Not surprisingly, the quarterly contracts held a protective hand over converters; the generally weak demand did the rest. Neither cutbacks in production – one of the commonly used means to control the market – nor the announced maintenance turnaround at a key POM facility were able to change anything in this respect.
After a long period of working from stock by converters, a small revival in demand was noticeable, especially with PC and PA. It was, however, well below the normal September level of pre-coronavirus times. E&E continued to be lively with products for the building segment and for lamps and lights, where the switch to LED technology and the traditionally higher demand in the upcoming dark months continued to drive demand. Meanwhile, there are increasing signs that the poor demand in the automotive industry could continue until well into 2021.
Some producers are nevertheless likely to see the start of the new quarter as an opportunity to call for price increases, but in the present market situation it is unlikely that they will succeed on a broad front.