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EU CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REACHES RECORD LOW

EU consumer confidence reaches the lowest ever recorded level in July, according to the latest data from the European Commission.

The new numbers show a decrease of 3 percentage points for the EU and 3.2 percentage points for the Euro Area.

The new levels surpass the lowest point reached during the beginning of the pandemic, raising fears of a major economic contraction.

The polymer industry has been feeling a considerable pressure on demand which is to do with a multitude of reasons.

But this latest reading reinforces the view that consumer jitters over inflation, war, and a looming energy crisis are additional major factors slowing down demand for polymers.

PA66 GF PRICES DECREASED SUBSTANTIALLY IN JULY
car engine

PA66 GF prices decreased substantially in July versus June in Europe due to better supply and decreasing demand.

As costs have continued to climb, producers sacrificed margins to maintain sales.

During the past year, PA66 prices surged after supply shortages and then energy cost increases.

Faced with good demand, producers were able to increase prices and also margins.

But lately the trend has changed to the downside.

The reduction in production disruptions has improved supply. And with the lower demand, inventories have apparently increased.

The current weakness resulted in some accounts seeing triple digit decreases in July.

Meanwhile, some buyers could only manage rollovers in July. While these were few, there was no indication of price increases at any account.

What is more, the current trend is likely being driven also by the surge in energy costs eroding Europe’s competitiveness, on polymers and finished goods.

July is a slow seasonal month when companies shut down for the summer. However, the current slowdown are do to with more than just seasonal trends.

The doward momentum will probably continue in August and possibly after the summer.

Nonetheless, the war, the slowdown in China, and inflationary pressures, make any forecast highly uncertain.

While the range of possibilities remain wide, the PA66 market in Europe during the past two months has become weak, a trend that could continue for the rest of the year.

TEKNOR APEX REPLACES PA66 GF WITH PP GF
car track

Teknor Apex replaces PA66 GF (glass filled) materilas with polypropylene GF for AdBlue Tank Cover, according to a recent communication.

The company says the replacement results in several processing advantages.

Teknor Apex Germany has developend glass-filled engineering PP. The aim is to replace PA66 GF and PA6 GF with PP GF.

The company has replaced PA GF with modified PP for several applications. One example is replacement of Adblue Tank Cover for Mercedes, replacing PA66 GF30 with PP GF45.

Teknor Apex is a privately owned custom compounder. The company has nine U.S. locations, and operations in Belgium, Singapore, Germany, and China.

POLYMER MARKETS CONTINUED TO WEAKEN IN JULY
falling trend

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.

DEMAND IS DECREASING SUBSTANTIALLY IN EUROPE
Decrease graph

Demand is decreasing substantially in Europe in June across most polymer markets amid a multitude of pressures. With energy prices remaining firm, producers’ margins could suffer a major squeeze.

Prices have continued to go up after the onset of war. But the slowdown in demand because of inflationary pressures and competitive imports from regions with lower energy costs are causing a dramatic fall in demand in Europe.

Moreover, buyers are struggling to pass on the continuous increases in costs amid supply chain disruptions.

In this market environment, buyers are destocking, probably also those volumes accumulated becasuse of panic after the war started.

An element of seasonal slowdown ahead of the summer is probably also adding downward pressure on demand.

The decreases in demand are quite substantial, up to 40% in the case of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). However, other markets are also slowing down, such as polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), nylon (PA6/PA66), and polycarbonate (PC).

There are downstream markets that are still holding up well, such as electrical and electronics and construciton. But players in these markets are also beginning to experience signs of weakness.

While it is too early to see this as the start of a a major trend, prices could continue to soften during the summer months.

And as energy costs remain firm and threaten to spike again, prices will most probably fail to fall back towards their long term trend. But for now sharp downward corrections appear to be unavoidable in June.

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