But in the meantime the current spike in infections is eroding the confidence restored after the rebound in the summer.
PMMA sellers are targeting increases in Q1, in an attempt to keep the current upward momentum on prices into the next quarter.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices in Europe have increased in Q4. Most players settled their quarterly prices at an increase from Q3 of around €50/mt. This was the first increase seen this year.
But now some sellers are already signalling that they will push for more increases in Q1. For example, some Asian suppliers have already told their distributors in Europe that they will be aiming for increases of around €150/mt in Q1. Also, a European producer, Roehm, recently announced increases of €200/mt starting from November.
The increases in methyl methacrylate (MMA) prices and a recovery in demand after the summer are providing the current support.
However, several developments could complicate matters for PMMA sellers. The markets looks set to change dramatically in the next few months.
For example, Europe is at the start of the second wave of the coronavirus. This could cause another big retreat in PMMA demand.
What is more, after an initial spike due to panic buying, demand for protective sheets is slowing down. This is a major factor that could further fuel the retreat in in the next few weeks.
With downside risks clearly increasing, any future recovery in PMMA prices is under threat.
Therefore, the recovery seen after the summer could soon disappear. Moreover, some players are now worried that the second wave could hit demand harder than the first one.
There is no doubt that visibility has declined for the next few months and for sure the outlook is getting weaker. As such, another increase in prices in Q1 is becoming less likely by the day.
And should MMA prices continue to increase, margins for PMMA producers could soon come under pressure.