It is plausible that the current upward trend in prices could remain in place throughout 2021.
Prices continue to increase in most markets in January against a backdrop of healthy demand and tight supply. Supply issues increased across most polymer markets. Production glitches, shipping issues, and other pandemic-related disruptions continue to reduce availability. Meanwhile, demand for polymers remains surprisingly healthier than during the first wave of the pandemic. And with the rollout of vaccines, the outlook looks positive for 2021.
Polycarbonate (PC) market dynamics continue to tilt in favour of sellers. Prices look set to post another monthly uptick, especially for extrusion grades. The projection for 2021 sees sheet extrusion prices catching up to other PC grades.
Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) demand continues to improve in January. But supply is getting tighter and costs are increasing. There is a shortage of acetone which is impacting the price and availability of MMA. Producers should find little resistance to achieve higher prices in Q1.
Nylon 6 (PA6) costs are increasing while demand remains healthy in most market segments. Sellers will aim to pass on the recent spike in benzene. It is likely that buyers will have to absorb triple-digit increases in January.
Nylon 66 (PA66) is getting tight every day as production issues increase, both in Europe and the US. Many producers are reportedly unable to supply the required demand and this is impacting supply chains. There is fear that the market is close to experience the critical shortages seen a couple of years ago when prices spiked above €4,000/mt for many buyers.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) remains very tight in Europe. Costs are increasing, production issues continue, imports are low, and demand is healthy. Prices for many buyers have now reached above €2,000/mt.
Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) continues to find support from healthy demand and higher costs. Prices will increase more than the combined increases in costs in January. But the upside is not as strong as ABS and the price gap is increasing.
Polystyrene (PS) producers will find little resistance in passing on the increases in costs in January. The market is balanced, and demand is healthy. While there is some slowdown in the construction sector, this was expected during this time of the year. Meanwhile, high impact polystyrene remains tight, driven by healthy demand for fridges.