Notations fall again / Reductions in Q1 agreements factored into monthly transactions / Turnaround seems imminent / Rising feedstock prices have firming impact
The price erosion for the more "classic materials within the European engineering thermoplastics portfolio continued in March. Most producers granted additional minor concessions in their monthly transactions, with the result that, at the end of the quarter, the reductions incorporated into the Q1 agreements were also reflected in the smaller orders in the distribution business. The exception was PMMA, which rolled over from February. PP compounds notations stabilised and the expectations that ABS would rise in the wake of the higher SM contract were also proven correct.
The polyamide market remained plagued by oversupply, and this was also the case to a certain extent with PBT and POM. Overall, however, there were initial signs that the market is becoming more balanced, with the output limitations introduced by a number of manufacturers starting to have an impact. It took until the end of the month, however, for this effect to show, as demand declined anyway around Easter and thus prevented any bottlenecks. The PC market situation was already much more balanced, and the PMMA front was stable anyway.
In April, prices are expected to stabilise and in some cases could even start to rise, driven by the mounting costs accumulating from higher notations in the oil and petrochemical chains. The price of ABS and PP compounds, for example, will almost certainly rise as a result of their close connection to SM and propylene. The increase in the cost of benzene could indirectly impact PC, another material where initial rises are quite conceivable. As for the polyamides and PBT, notations could stabilise - a development producers could book as an initial partial success. In the case of POM, on the other hand, it remains unclear whether prices will stabilise. It is more clear-cut for PMMA, which will likely continue the sideways movement that all players appear to be content with.
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