London (GC Intelligence) — Polycarbonate (PC) prices in Europe decreased €55/mt from May to June, according to GC Intelligence pricing analysis.
Prices have changed direction recently because of the virus disruptions. There were increases registered in March and April. But then prices fell in May and now again in June.
Producers are reportedly fighting for market share and are prepared to lower prices to offset the losses in volumes in some markets.
Buyers in many sectors have struggled, especially in the automotive industry. The big losses caused production for some players to ground to a halt. While there are signs that things are improving, activity remains much lower than before the start of the pandemic.
Prices also decreased because of the lower costs. While polycarbonate prices are negotiated based on demand and supply, costs still play a role in the negotiations. This is especially true when there is a big movement as it was the case in April.
However, amid much weakness, some sectors found support. Demand surged for protective sheets and other applications, such as visors, used to combat the virus. This may have eased the recent downside.
Seasonality also likely eased the downward pressure in June. In the first half of the year costs and demand tend to increase. For example, as construction is reliant on good weather, demand from the sector starts to increases in the spring.
But despite signs of improvement, the outlook is weak. The market will not see big decreases, especially now that activity is increasing and costs are on the way up. But equally a rebound is also unlikely, at least until the end of the year. Market feedback suggests that it will probably take more than a year for demand to return to 2019 levels.