Price increases will be inevitable in December and possibly January.
Buyers rush to secure volumes amid increasing costs, good demand, and supply shortages. This seems to be happening in almost all markets. Moreover, many producers seems to be having plant issues, which is amplifying the shortages.
Polycarbonate (PC) buyers are rushing to secure material in a tightening market environment. The strong demand, higher costs, and production issues are driving the upside. Moreover, the high prices in China means the arbitrage from Europe to the region is now open, which could drain even more volumes out of Europe. All the signs are pointing to a possible steep climb in prices in 2021.
Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) costs continue to go up, demand is strong, and producers are pushing for increases. There is little doubt that as in all other markets, buyers might have to accept higher prices in Q1. The strong auto sector and what seems to be a renewed interest in protective sheets is driving demand.
Nylon 6 (PA6) sellers are pushing for increases and succeeding so far. The support is coming from good demand, especially automotive, some production issues, higher benzene prices and an overall tighter than expected market.
Nylon 66 (PA66) buyers are increasingly concerned about recent production issues at raw materials plants, in Europe and the US. While the shortage is not yet as severe as it was in 2018, it is enough to cause some panic among buyers who are sourcing extra volumes and amplifying the shortage.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)’s relentless climb continued in December. The market has not changed much since November and is arguably getting worse from a buyer’s perspective. There is little doubt that producers will be able to increase margins for yet another month.
Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) is not as bad as ABS but is also tight because of lower Asian imports and good domestic demand. There are signs that the worst-hit market segments are ready to restart and this should continue into Q1 and gather momentum in Q2.
Polystyrene (PS) is tight with many producers sold out as it appears that they have been trying to restock amid strong demand. An element of pre-buying is also increasing demand and further tightening supply. The fact that spot prices are currently higher than prices for regular business customers is a sign that the European PS market is indeed short.