Polymer markets continued to weaken substantially in July in Europe on the back of falling demand.
This was making price negotiations difficult as many producers continued to face increasing costs.
Demand for most polymers has been getting weaker since the beginning of the second quarter.
Activity has remained soft in automotive but has recently started to fall in other markets. Some of these include appliances and even construction.
The decrease in demand is attributed to many factors. Some of these include supply chain disruptions, seasonality, and high raw material prices. But most probably also inflationary pressures.
This weakness will most probably continue for the rest of the summer, and likely for the rest of the year.
In some markets, the fall in demand has been rather drastic, resulting in players having to stop production lines.
Polypropylene (PP) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are some of the worst-hit markets, also because of competitive imports.
With the relentless increases in energy prices, Europe continues to lose competitiveness across entire supply chains, which is probably weakening demand further.
Meanwhile, during this time of the year activity slows down because of the summer, and this has certainly accentuated the fall in demand in some sectors.
There were markets that were still performing relatively well, such as electrical and electronics and packaging. However, this was not enough to offset the losses in other markets.
As demand continues to weaken amid rising inflation, the situation could become much worse for all players during the winter when there is a greater risk of a spike in energy costs.