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EU CAR SALES JUMP 12.1% IN JANUARY 2024
car industry

EU car sales jump 12.1% in January 2024, according to the latest data from The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

A total of 851,690 vehicles were registered. This marked a significant rebound from the slow pace observed in the previous month.

Key European markets, including Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, all reported substantial increases in car registrations. These figures illustrate a broad-based revival in auto demand throughout the region.

Electric vehicle (EV) market share climbed to 10.9%, up from the previous year, indicating a growing consumer shift towards electric mobility.

Hybrid vehicles also saw a rise in popularity, accounting for nearly 30% of new car registrations, while traditional petrol and diesel vehicles experienced a decline in market share.

Electric car sales experienced a robust increase of 28.9%, with 92,741 units sold. This surge was led by significant growth in major markets such as Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Germany, highlighting the increasing appeal of EVs among European consumers.

The surge in hybrid vehicle registrations by 23.5%, along with a 23.8% increase in plug-in hybrid sales, reflects a continuing trend towards electrification in the EU automotive market.

However, while the automotive sector shows promising growth, the polymer industry reports stable but unenthusiastic demand.

Specifically, polymers like PA6, PA66, and polycarbonate (PC) are facing challenges related to good availability within the value chain, as overall demand in Europe remains tepid.

MMA SPOT PRICES REACH NEW HIGHS IN FEBRUARY 2024
inflation abstract

MMA spot prices reach new highs in February 2024, according to recent market analysis by GC Intelligence. The shortages continue, with offers reaching as high as €2600/MT DDP.

Prices have surged in a very short period, having been substantially below €2000/MT before the end of last year.

The reasons for the increases are multiple. The main reason is the higher freight costs and longer lead times due to disruptions in shipping through the Suez Canal.

In addition, all regions seem to have become short. Little supply is coming from the Middle East.

From Asia, due to maintenance, better demand in some countries, and the Chinese New Year, availability is also low.

Availability from the US is low as well, as it is understood the market has tightened in that region too.

European producers, up until recently, have been operating at low rates and are certainly in a good position to recover margins.

MMA, or Methyl Methacrylate, is primarily used in the production of paints and coatings, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and cast sheets.

GERMAN CONSTRUCTION SENTIMENT PLUMMETS
plant building

German construction sentiment plummets. The ifo Institute reports a historic low in German residential construction sentiment. The business climate index has fallen to -59.0, marking the lowest value ever recorded.

Business expectations also declined, reaching -68.9 points. Klaus Wohlrabe, ifo’s Head of Surveys, highlighted the sector’s bleak outlook.

He noted the significant impact of order shortages and project cancellations. Despite a slight improvement, Wohlrabe cautioned against optimism, citing unchanged tough conditions.

High interest rates and construction costs continue to challenge the industry. The ifo Institute’s findings emphasize the severe downturn in the residential construction sector.

Polymers such as PP, PS, PC, PMMA, and POM, are feeling the pinch of the construction sector’s downturn, not only in Germany but also across the EU. Market conditions for these polymers, heavily reliant on construction activity, reflect this trend, with many suppliers reporting low demand from the sector.

INEOS STYROLUTION LAUNCHES NEW MBS MATERIAL
gdp growth

INEOS Styrolution launches new MBS material. The Zylar® EX350, is the novel MBS (methyl methacrylate butadiene styrene) material.

The new MBS material is designed for enhanced electronics component packaging with stiffness and toughness.

This cutting-edge Zylar® EX350 aims to improve carrier tapes used in tape-and-reel packaging, promising better protection and stability for electronic components.

The Zylar EX350 enables the crafting of carrier tapes with deeper, more durable pocket designs, improving from traditional GPPS/SBC blends in both versatility and application scope.

TRINSEO HIKES PMMA SHEET PRICES BY 10%
pmma

Trinseo hikes PMMA sheet prices. The company, a prominent player in specialty material solutions and its European affiliates, has disclosed a significant price hike for its acrylic sheet products.

The adjustment, varying based on product grade specifications, will see prices escalate by +10% for all dispatches post-February 1, 2024, aligning with the terms of current contracts.

This price revision comes at a time when the European sheet market is navigating through a period of heightened competition, marked by diminishing demand and an influx of aggressively priced imports.

Nonetheless, the industry landscape is undergoing a transformation. The appeal of imports is diminishing, primarily due to the escalating costs and logistical delays stemming from the ongoing Suez Canal complications in the Middle East.

Concurrently, the cost of critical raw materials, notably methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), is experiencing an unprecedented surge. Notably, PMMA prices have seen an increase of up to €500/MT in recent times.

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