The higher import prices add further upside support in a currently strong European PMMA market.
PMMA import offers increased €400/mt for some players in December, largely on the back of the ongoing strong demand in China.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) buyers said exporters to Europe from the region are asking for prices close to €2,000/mt.
However, at such prices, European sellers are substantially more competitive.
It seems that the trade distortions observed across many markets are also impacting European PMMA.
And with little to suggest an ease in this situation, the current trend should continue into Q1.
However, for many buyers the increases will be more staggered and not as high as what importers are offering. But domestic prices look set to go up regardless.
The relative strength in China and a recovery in all market segments in Europe should sustain the upside in the short term.
While European PMMA prices have not yet reached Asian import offers, the gap will surely close in the coming months.
PMMA import offers increased despite December being normally a quiet month.
As in many markets, most participants try to end the year with low inventories.
But this year, the PMMA market has been even more active in December.
Europe has slowly recovered and all market segments are doing well, from automotive to sheet extrusion.
The reason for the big increases is perhaps also due to panic buying ahead of higher transport costs due to scarcity of containers.
It seems that high demand from China is the leading factor pushing PMMA import prices up in Europe.
But should the situation in the shipping market continue, it will become a significant driver.
For now the leading reasons for the support in PMMA prices in Europe are good demand, higher costs, and to some extent lower imports.