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PC BUYERS NEGOTIATE DECREASES

PC buyers negotiate decreases in November versus October as lower gas prices give producers some flexibility to lower their offers.

GC Intelligence price assessments show decreases on all grades.

The extrusion market saw the biggest corrections due to intense competition.

Sheet extruders are unable to compete with current domestic prices and lately have taken more risk to source volumes from Asia.

Meanwhile, suppliers in Asia face a weakened Chinese market and a spike in capacities in the country. As such many are making attractive offers especially to big volume accounts, namely extrusion players in Europe.

At such low price levels, European polycarbonate (PC) producers stand to make losses. Therefore, the persistent high energy prices raise the risk of polycarbonate plant closures in Europe.

TRINSEO ANNOUNCES PRICE DECREASES FOR ABS
market turmoil

Trinseo announces price decreases for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), according to a note on its website.

The announcement states that the decrease of €20/mt will be effective from 1 October 2022.

At the same time, Trinseo announced an increase of €60/mt for its PC/ABS.

The announcements come against a backdrop of weak demand and competitive imports in Europe, particularly for ABS.

However, soaring energy costs are placing pressure not only on ABS but on all polymers. In some cases this is leading to increases, despite the weak 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.

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.

PC PRICES POST DECREASES IN JUNE
Polycarbonate sheet

PC prices post decreases in June versus May regardless of cost pressures, according to the latest assessments by GC Intelligence.

Polycarbonate (PC) buyers up until recently have experienced a prolonged period of price increases, taking values substantially above €3,000/mt.

However, during the past few weeks, better availability, because of persistent slowdowns in demand allowed buyers to negotiate decreases.

Supply chain issues disruptiong production downstream and inflationary pressures were the main drivers.

In addition, the slowdown in China because of the lockdowns increased import efforts to Europe, adding more pressure.

But a weaker Euro against the US dollar and ongong logistic problems limited the impact imports were having in Europe.

However, after recent rebounds in gas prices, suppliers will most certainly resist further decreases. But as seen in other markets, sharp falls in demand will lead to lower prices regardless of costs.

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