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PMMA PRICES ROLL OVER IN AUGUST IN EUROPE

PMMA prices roll over in August in Europe due to low demand countering upward pressure from rising energy costs.

As sellers fail to secure increases amid rising costs, producers’ margins suffer once again.

After the abrupt fall in demand for protective sheets since the pandemic and a struggling automotive sector, PMMA demand has struggled to recover.

With the summer slowdown, buyers are waiting to see how the market will pick up in September, further weakening demand.

At the same time, soaring gas prices increased the pressure to push for increases.

But buyers resisted increases. The rollover in August follows consecutive rollovers since the jump in April.

monthly price changes

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices have not followed many other polymers which have surged during the pandemic.

Therefore the latest increases in energy costs have been more painful for domestic PMMA producers. Most have been forced to heavily reduce operating rates,

Meanwhile, because of the energy crisis, Europe continues to lose competitiveness against other regions.

In fact, Asian PMMA prices remain competitive and the arbitrage to Europe open.

While August is a slow month due to the summer slowdown in Europe, part of the weak demand is also to do with a general slowdown in economic activity fuelled by the war in the Ukraine.

The outlook for the rest of the year is gloomy as players will see rising energy costs but a potential collapse in demand.

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.

PMMA PRICES FAILED TO INCREASE IN JULY
rear car lights

PMMA prices failed to increase in July in Europe due to higher energy prices countering downward pressure from low demand.

With energy costs soaring, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) European producers continue to struggle to defend margins.

A weak demand for months has prevented producers from passing on the energy cost increases on to their customers.

While crude oil prices decreased, with the brent benchamark down to $100/bbl, gas prices were still around €160/MWh. This compares to a long term average of just under €60/MWh.

After the spike in April, PMMA prices have rolled over since, a trend that is expected to last until the end of the summer.

PMMA prices failed to increase and for injection moulding grade remained above €3,000/mt.

Meanwhile, the main raw material methyl methacrylate (MMA) saw import spot prices decrease quite substantially on the back of low demand in China.

However, lower MMA import prices will have minimum impact in Europe as domestic prices were not falling because of the high energy costs.

Due to the higher energy costs, European PMMA players across the entire value chain continued to experience a loss of compatitiveness against other regions. And this was likely contributing to the falling demand in many market segments.

TRINSEO EXPANDS ACRYLIC CAPACITY IN ITALY
acrylic sheets

Trinseo expands acrylic capacity in Rho, Italy. The new compounding line should start during the third quarter of 2022.

“This added capacity supports Trinseo’s mold-in color, paint replacement solution,” said Olivier Bourgeois, Resins Business Director, Engineered Materials EMEA.

Trinseo is a major supplier of PMMA resins and Acrylic Sheets in Europe.

The company produces polymethyl methacrylate resins (PMMA) in Rho, Italy. It also producers methyl methacrylate (MMA) in Rho, Italy, and Porto Marghera, Italy. The company producers cast sheet and blocks in Saint-Avold, France.

Additional locations include, Bronderslev, Denmark, for cast sheets production. The company also owns four PMMA facilities in the US and one in Mexico.

Access information on PMMA prices, forecasts, and market developments

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.

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