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ROEHM EXPANDS PMMA CAPACITY IN EUROPE
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Roehm plans to expand its polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) moulding compound capacity in Worms, Germany, according to a recent press release.

The reason for the expansion is to meet the demand growth in downstream products. The new capacity will also provide flexibility and security of supply.

“Trends like electromobility and self-driving cars place new demands on automotive applications which we will meet with our high-quality PLEXIGLAS® molding compounds”, says Siamak Djafarian, Senior Vice President Business Unit Molding Compounds. 

The company plans to complete the expansion during the third quarter of 2023.

In June, the company announced the construction of a large-scale plant in the US for the raw material methyl methacrylates (MMA).

PMMA PRICES INCREASED €100/MT IN Q4
PMMA

PMMA prices increased €100/mt from Q3 to Q4 due to higher costs, according to GC Intelligence market analysis.

The increase in the feedstock methyl methacrylate (MMA) and higher energy costs, placed additional pressure on prices.

The GC Intelligence Q4 MMA contract price increased €100/mt to €2,200/mt.

In addition, producers were looking to pass on the recent spikes in energy costs, citing higher gas and ammonia prices.

The surcharges could push prices substantially higher in Q1. One producers was aiming to implement a surcharge of €350/mt.

Meanwhile, in Q4 High Impact Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) climbed to around €3,270/mt. And Injection Moulding PMMA rose to €2,550/mt.

However, extrusion PMMA rolled over, owing to lower demand for sheets.

Overall, the European PMMA market was relatively balanced. Since the summer, a slowdown in demand from both the sheet and automotive sector helped to increased supply.

Should demand continue to fall then sellers will have to fight hard to pass on the increases in costs in the next few weeks.

The recent spike in energy has added yet another layer of complexity in the PMMA markets and the rest of the polymer industry.

And while visibility has decreased further, it is unlikely that buyers will see prices fall in the next few months.

Roehm increases MMA prices in October, citing soaring gas and ammonia prices, according to a press release.

Roehm said it will increase prices of methyl methacrylate (MMA) by €130/mt with immediate effect.

MMA prices during the past year have been increasing on the back of rising costs and supply issues.

While downstream PMMA prices have followed a similar trend, the upward momentum has abated in October.

The PMMA market is now balanced with worries of slowdowns in demand in some market segments.

Demand from the automotive industry has slowed down due to the shortage of semiconductors. And the visual communications sector has still not picked up since the outbreak of the pandemic.

With MMA prices increasing and PMMA prices likely to rollover, some market participants will probably face a squeeze on margins in Q4.

And should the weakness of PMMA demand continue in Q1 amid raising energy prices, the situation could start to become critical for some players.

The PMMA price rollovers expected in Q4 in Europe will bring to a halt the recent upward trend. The main reason for this ease in the upside is the current slowdown in demand.


There is also a good chance that producers’ margins will decrease in Q4. This is because the upward momentum remains in place on methyl methacrylate (MMA) prices.

The higher MMA prices during 2021 played a major part in pushing up PMMA prices.

But as PMMA supply is now better, prices reached high levels, and the market is entering a seasonal slowdown, the upward momentum has eased.

Decreases on PMMA prices are not expected in Q4. But additional slowdown in demand could start to translate into lower prices in Q1.

In addition to a seasonal slowdowns in demand during Q4, there could be a significant slowdown in demand from the auto sector.

The sector has been struggling with a shortage of semiconductors. And many plants were forced to shut down or ease production.

Should the semiconductor shortages continue or indeed get worse, then PMMA sellers will feel the impact.

In addition to the slowdown in the auto sector, other markets are also suffering.

For example, the visual communications sector is still subdued and has not picked up since the pandemic.

There is certainly a feel that the momentum is shifting in favour of stability and possibly retreats.

And there is a risk that polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices could soon start to retreat from the current highs on the back of lower demand.

Trinseo hikes MMA prices by €300/mt from July, according to a recent company note.

This note follows the company’s previous announcement in June, of €200/mt increase on methyl methacrylate (MMA).

The company did not give a reason for the price increase. But current market conditions for MMA supply have deteriorated.

Trinseo hikes MMA prices against a backdrop of tightening supply, sparked by Roehm declaring force majeure (FM) earlier in June.

With MMA supply tightening in Europe, spot MMA prices reached above €400/mt.

Moreover, the supply shortages and price increases of MMA are pushing up polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices.

PMMA Prices

At the same time, demand in downstream markets remains buoyant in most market segments, such as automotive and construction.

While raw material shortages are slowing some production downstream, a backlog of orders is for now sustaining demand.

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