There was the usual resistance from buyers, but increases were hard to avoid this time round.
PC prices jumped €100/mt in December in Europe, according to GC Intelligence market assessments.
The main drivers supporting the high prices were tight supply, a spike in Asian prices, higher costs, and strong demand.
Polycarbonate (PC) demand was unusually healthy for this time of the year when players tend to destock for accounting reasons.
While part of the increase in demand was to do with some panic created by a lack of product and increasing prices, downstream markets were also rallying.
Almost all market segments were ending the year on a positive note.
Construction, automotive and electrical and electronics were all key markets with a high level of activity.
But beside the support from demand, ongoing production issues ensured a tight market and longer lead times.
Moreover, the supply situation appeared to be getting worse with delays and higher costs of shipping.
As seen in many other markets, the pandemic has created trade distortions and caused a scarcity of shipping containers.
One polycarbonate producer said that deliveries from Asia to Europe were now only possible once every two or three weeks as opposed to the regular weekly.
In addition to the good demand and supply disruptions, higher costs were also supporting PC prices.
Benzene and bisphenol A (BPA) prices were increasing and further supporting the higher prices.
PC prices jumped €100/mt in December also because of the recent spike in Asian prices.
As seen in the past, when the arbitrage is open, Asian prices can lead European prices.
And as the outlook keeps improving for 2021, it is likely that the current upward trend on PC prices in Europe will continue in Q1.