The slowdown in activity in China because of the pandemic likely fuelled the trend.
Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) imports to March surged, doubling compared to a year ago, according to Eurostat data in June. South Korea is the major exporter to Europe which also supplies the Chinese market. When virus-related disruptions happened in China, more volume became available for the European market.
What is more, as costs decreased in the region, import offers became competitive and supported additional sales.
PMMA imports to March surged from the region also because the good availability of the feedstock methyl methacrylate (MMA). MMA is costly to transport. When supply increases, it is often turned into PMMA and shipped out of the region.
Therefore the slowdown in both markets probably accentuated the trend seen in Q1. However, things have changed since March and this trend will probably not continue.
Activity in China has improved and therefore demand is better. And demand has been falling in Europe, in sectors such as construction and automotive. Prices have also been falling.
As such, low demand and lower prices in Europe will have eased the pressure on imports. In fact market feedback in May and June suggests that indeed imports have been less competitive and sellers have been less aggressive to place volumes.