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BRIEF: June is Another Painful Month for Polymers

June 11, 2020
Even if countries ease lockdown measures, demand continues to sink for all polymers. Nylon engineering resins remain the hardest hit markets.

Polycarbonate (PC) demand for sheets is still good in June but orders are levelling off. However, June is indeed another painful month as total demand is low and prices are still going down, even for sheet extrusion. Supply is ample and sellers continue to fight for volumes.

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) is the product of choice to use to make sheets that protect against the virus. But also for PMMA the strong demand for sheets is not translating into higher prices because of major slowdown in other markets.

Nylon 6 (PA6) remains weak in June with no signs of recovery. The auto sector is still not operating anywhere near where it was before the pandemic. The benzene higher prices are not pushing up caprolactam prices for now. This is because demand for derivatives is so weak.

Nylon 66 (PA66) is probably the sector that is suffering the most from the pandemic.

Nylon 66 (PA66) is probably the sector that is suffering the most from the pandemic. And June is another painful month, especially for nylon engineering resins. The slowdown in demand is ongoing and prices look set for another month of decreases. But with demand drying up, prices have lost leverage. Therefore, participants expect smaller decreases in June.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) margins could see a squeeze in June. Crude oil prices are above $40/bbl and will likely continue to push up costs of raw materials. But demand is weak and there is plenty of competitive volume coming from Asia.

Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) found support from its little exposure to the auto industry. Moreover, it found extra demand because it is used to make clear sheets to protect against the virus. But like all styrenics, the market is competitive and prices are very low, now at below €1,000/mt.

Polystyrene (PS) prices look set to go up in June after the increase in the price of the monomer. But levels remain low. Besides, offers for increases in June were for those customers that were paying some of the lowest prices in May. While it is early in the month, prices for now are not moving much away from €800/mt for GPPS.

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