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DUPONT ANNOUNCED PRICE INCREASES
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DuPont announced price increases on nylon 6 and nylon 66, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyoxymethylene (POM) of €330-500/mt.

The company, blaming current market conditions, noted that the increases will be effective from 1 December or as contracts allow.

Nylon 6/66 (PA6/66) products will increase by €480/mt, PBT will increase €500/mt, and POM 330/mt. DuPont announced price increases much higher for flame retardant products.

In the past few weeks, most polymer producers have been reactive to the ongoing surges in costs.

In addition to supply disruptions and rising raw materials, gas prices have pushed up costs of production.

The increases in gas prices have increased utility costs and polymer producers are trying to pass these on to their customers.

Moreover, in the case of nylon, particularly nylon 6, ammonia shortages and high prices created an additional cost increase of the raw material caprolactam.

LANXESS TO CREATE INDEPENDENT HIGH PERFORMANCE BUSINESS
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LANXESS plans to create an independent high performance business unit that includes nylon and (PBT), according to a recent press release.

The company has recently announced its intention to create an independent legal corporate structure for its High Performance Materials (HPM) business.

The portfolio includes the engineering plastics polyamide and polybutylene terephthalate business. The business also includes thermoplstic fiber composites.

The main downstream industries for the HPM products are automotive and electrical and electronics.

According to the company, a separate legal structure will enhance flexibility to be able to meet growth opportunities in a market that is transitioning to new forms of mobility.

The press note adds that “the business unit employs around 1,900 people at 14 sites worldwide. Sales are in the low single-digit billion euro range.”

PBT PRICES ROLLED OVER IN EUROPE

Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) prices rolled over in Europe on most accounts, stabilizing at high levels reached earlier in the year. Signs of softer values after the summer did not translate into lower prices in Q4 as cost pressures increased again.

During the first half of the year, production issues, high costs, and logistic problems pushed prices up substantially. Later in the year, some lower prices were offered, but recently the high energy costs complicated negotiations and led to rollovers.

With little to suggest a major shift in current market dynamics in the short term, players will likely negotiate rollovers also in Q1. The rollovers resulted in PBT GF30 FR to remain around €4,500/mt DDP. This level is substantially higher than the €3,050/mt DDP before the pandemic.

Moreover, the tight market pushed some buyers to seek alternative sources, pushing prices above €5,000/mt for some.

Europe during the past few years has turned into a major importer of PBT from Asia. Therefore, the increases in freight rates, disruptions, and delays played a major part to shorten supply.

And as the rise in the cost of the raw material butanediol (BDO) is due to structural factors, PBT prices are unlikely to retreat to previous levels any time soon.

Engineering Resins demand is buoyant in July in Europe, despite ongoing raw material shortages impacting downstream markets. The severe shortages experienced earlier in Q2 left many buyers with low inventories. Therefore, part of the current demand may be to do with stock building.


PC

Polycarbonate (PC) prices in Q3 are expected to stabilise as producers should succeed to maintain current margins. The good demand and extremely short supply will support this trend.

PMMA

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) costs in July are increasing again, driven by rising methyl methacrylate (MMA) prices. The MMA market is experiencing another wave of shortages.

PA6

PA6 prices in July are unlikely to retreat in line with feedstocks. Prices should remain relatively steady in Q3 amid volatile markets across the value chain.

PA66

PA66 supply in July suffered another blow after Italian producer RadiciGroup declared force majeure (FM). The company suffered a power blackout at its plant in Novara.

ABS

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) prices in July will decrease in line with costs. However, supply remains tight, partly because of the closed arbitrage from Asia to Europe.

SAN

Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) supply during the past few weeks has improved from the critical shortages experienced earlier in the year because of better acrylonitrile (ACN) supply conditions.

PS

Polystyrene (PS) demand in July increased, leaving many sellers sold out. This reflects both strong demand and probably buyers replenishing stocks after signs that costs could start to increase again.

PP

Polypropylene (PP) supply in July improved in Europe as imports increased, but the market remains tight. Buyers are struggling to negotiate lower prices.


Overall, while supply of many polymers improved from the critical shortages earlier in the year, buyers continue to face shortages, long lead times, and high prices. As the pandemic is far from over, market participants will most likely have to wait until 2022 before seeing a rebalancing of the markets.

While many buyers face ongoing struggles for availability, signs of relief emerged in June. The polymer industry for months experienced severe shortages, high costs, and price spikes. But the upward trend has ended in many markets, suggesting the likelihood of an overall better balance in Q3 and a move away from the extreme tightness seen in 1H 2021.


PC

Polycarbonate (PC) buyers look set to absorb more increases in June. However, the lower raw material costs appear to have led to a softening of the highest offers seen during the past few months. This reinforces the view that values are getting close to the peak.

PMMA

Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) imports have become more competitive despite ongoing logistics troubles, helped also by favourable exchange rates. While this may not be enough to prevent further price increases in Q3, it will certainly help to limit the upside.

PA6

Nylon 6 (PA6) costs decreased after a sharp drop in the benzene contract price in June. While supply is tight on the back of the shortage of caprolactam, some sellers are already lowering offers. The picture on price movements, however, remains mixed in June.

PA66

Nylon 66 (PA66) production issues plunged the market into another crisis recently, but the upside seems to be running out of steam. The ease in costs, and lower demand in some markets due to raw material issues downstream appear to be supporting rollovers from some sellers.

ABS

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) prices will fall after the big decrease in the styrene contract in June. But a tight market should allow producers to decrease prices by a smaller amount than the decrease in costs.

SAN

Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) supply is set to improve as availability of acrylonitrile (ACN) has increased. But low stocks and turnarounds will prevent a big fall in June.

PS

Polystyrene (PS) supply is tight for HIPS and better for GPPS. Nonetheless, offers plunged on the back of lower monomer values. Some sellers appear to be in a race to place more volumes on the market before further falls.

PP

Polypropylene (PP) buyers continue to receive more offers from Asia, placing pressure on spot prices. Spot prices are gathering downward momentum in June.


By and large buyers so far have faced slightly better supply and lower offers on most markets. However, for many the situation remains rather chaotic, and some might even have to absorb further increases. But signals suggest a better market environment going into the slow period of the summer.

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