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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.

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.

TRINSEO HIKES PC PRICES IN EU BY €300MT
price increase

Trinseo hikes PC prices. Trinseo, a specialty material solutions provider, and its European affiliate companies have revealed a significant price adjustment for their entire range of polycarbonate (PC) grades.

Effective February 1, 2024, or as per existing contractual terms, the prices for all polycarbonate (PC) products will see an increase of €300/MT.

The European PC market has faced a year of sustained demand challenges, further aggravated by competitive imports.

However, the import pressure has recently diminished due to issues in the Middle East and the Suez Canal, making imports less appealing to domestic buyers.

PC PRICES SET TO ROLLOVER IN JANUARY 2024
price increases

GC Intelligence (London) – PC prices set to rollover. In the European polycarbonate sector, prices appear poised to maintain their current levels, with indications suggesting a rollover from December into January.

Attempts by suppliers to implement price increases have been largely thwarted. This is due to oversupply, fierce competition among sellers, and tepid demand.

While there have been minor price hikes, these were primarily limited to smaller accounts and did not represent a broader market trend.

Disruptions in the Suez Canal are introducing a new dimension to market dynamics. These are leading to increased costs for exporters to Europe, resulting in higher prices for imported polycarbonate.

This shift could potentially provide European suppliers with leverage to push for price increases in the future.

However, as of now, the overall polycarbonate pricing in Europe seems set to stay consistent with December levels.


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WANHUA TO OPEN HUB IN SPAIN
modern cityscape

WANHUA to open hub in Spain. WANHUA, the Chinese multinational, plans to open an innovation hub in Catalonia, Spain.

WANHUA already maintains a presence in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

With a workforce of 27,000 and an impressive portfolio of over 5,000 registered patents.

During his official mission to China, Catalonia’s Minister of Business and Labor, Roger Torrent, announced this investment.

WANHUA’s decision underscores Catalonia’s allure for multinational corporations.

This innovation center will drive progress in the chemical industry, and enhance Catalonia’s standing in Southern Europe.

WANHUA, renowned for actively producing polyurethanes, performance chemicals, polycarbonates, and more, will actively bring its wealth of expertise to Catalonia.

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