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Polypropylene (PP) prices plunge to new lows in September after posting once again triple-digit decreases, according to GC Intelligence price assessments.

Market participatns noted decreases of around €100-140/mt, with homopolymer prices reaching below €1300/mt for many buyers.

The recent slump in prices has widened the price range between accounts to as much as €500/mt.

Market feedback suggests demand is still suffering from inflation and energy prices diverting consumption away from downstream products.

Moreover, demand also slowing in other regions, such as Asia, has increased imports to Europe.

Domestic suppliers are trying to stop the continuous decreases in prices by lowering operating rates and implementing energy surcharges, according to several buyers.

But with most buyers seeing customers cancelling orders, inventoeris are reaching capacity.

While a price rebound is a probable scenario next month, it is less likely than rollovers or indeed further decreases.


Europe car sales show positive signs with an increase of 4.4% in August versus last year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

This is the first positive reading for more than a year, a sign the sector is reaching stability.

But while the increase was encouraging, total numbers remained substantially below pre-pandemic levels.

car sales data

Moreover, with data having been negative for more than a year, the comparison is against a low base. 

Nonetheless, from a polymer industry perspective, in September the picture remains mixed.

While some suppliers note a recovery after the summer holidays, many suggest ongoing poor performace.

A backlog of orders created during supply chain issues may be providing some support in some markets, including automotive.

However, increases in energy bills for consumers will most certainly negatively impact spending on many goods in the near term, including cars.

A looming energy crisis fuelling inflation increased the risk of a recession in Europe. As such, the outlook for overall demand for engineering polymers remains negative for the rest of the year and in 2023.

falling prices

ABS prices decreased €250/mt in August in Europe, according to GC Intelligence assessments. Values remained under pressure due to seasonal trends, lower demand, and competitive imports.

While the decrease acrylonitrile butadiend styrene (ABS) prices was not as much as the combined decrease of raw material prices, rising energy costs prevented gains in margins.

As seen in most polymers, ABS prices surged after the good demand during the pandemic and then again because of the war pushing up overall costs.

Moreover, fear of uncertainty over the war probably influenced some stock build. Since the war started, however, demand has been
going down in Europe at an accelerating pace as the higher energy prices fuelled inflation.

What is more, the competitiveness of Asian imports has also increased in line with the
slump in demand in China.

Prices and margins in August have remained under considerable pressure. This is expected to continue albeit ease somewhat as buying should increase after the holiday period in September.

consumer spending

The EU consumer confidence recovers in August after hitting the lowest level on record in July.

The indicator from the European Commission was mostly negative during this year, weakening further due to the war and inflation.

Consumer confidence plummeted in March after the start of the war in the Ukraine in February.

And a major recovery in confidence is unlikely this year as inflation continues to climb amid a looming energy crisis in Europe.

Falling Charts

INEOS Styrolution decreases PS prices by €210/mt in September versus August.

The announcement follows yet another decrease of the styrene monomer contract price in September of €287/mt.

While the company noted the decrease of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS), it also noted a surcharge of high impact polystyrene (HIPS) of €120/mt.

After having reached a record peak in July above €2000/mt, the SM contract price has posted big corrections in August and now in September.

As Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis, demand has weakened substantially across the polymer industry.

The current uncertainty and volatility across value chains will most probably persist and could intensify when seasonal demand for gas increases during the winter.

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