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Polycarbonate Extrusion Grade Prices Edge Higher in July 2024

Polycarbonate extrusion grade prices edge higher, according to GC Intelligence price assessments. In a somewhat resilient performance amidst broader market struggles, polycarbonate extrusion grade prices have edged higher this month. The rise in prices is attributed to a confluence of factors. This includes slight supply chain delays, increased costs, and notably, a reduction in competitive imports.

Since the start of 2024, freight rates have surged, adding approximately €200 per metric ton to the cost of imports. But in some cases this was even higher. This escalation has left exporters to Europe with little choice but to hike their prices. Domestic suppliers, capitalizing on this scenario, have also raised their prices accordingly.

Despite the price hikes observed over the past few months, the typical summer slowdown and ample availability from Asia—where demand is also sluggish—have kept imports competitive, thereby capping any significant price surges.

Looking ahead, polycarbonate (PC) prices are expected to continue their upward trend through September, although the rate of increase is anticipated to decelerate. The recent spikes in freight costs appear to have been fully integrated into current prices. And the market seems to be sufficiently supplied to prevent further sharp increases.

While the polycarbonate market has managed to sustain its momentum, the overall stability and moderate price gains reflect a delicate balance between supply constraints and competitive pressures from imports.

PMMA Extrusion Prices Surge by €140 per Metric Ton in Europe Amid Shortages

PMMA Extrusion Prices Surge in July 2024. The European market is experiencing a significant increase in the price of Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) extrusion, which has risen by €140 per metric ton, according to GC Intelligence price assessments for July 2024.

This surge is attributed to a combination of shortages and increased freight costs, causing concerns among manufacturers and buyers.

While the prices for PMMA extrusion have escalated, other grades of PMMA, such as high impact and injection moulding, have remained relatively stable due to lower demand. The primary factor driving up extrusion prices is the heavy reliance on imports, which have become scarce. Additionally, higher freight costs have added upward pressure on prices.

The increase in PMMA prices and the ongoing shortage have led producers of extruded sheets to scale back production. This reduction has tightened the market, bringing PMMA sheet prices to the same level as polycarbonate sheets. Despite this, the possibility of substituting PMMA with polycarbonate remains limited due to specific application requirements.

EU PP Prices Roll Over in July 2024

EU PP prices roll over. July 2024 has seen polypropylene (PP) prices rolling over, driven by weak demand and steady feedstock propylene costs, according to GC Intelligence market analysis.

The limited demand is posing challenges for producers attempting to increase their margins, which remain squeezed.

Producers have been grappling with demand issues for some time. There was a brief uptick following a rise in freight costs leading to uncompetitive imports. But this pressure was quickly absorbed by a market that continues to struggle.

With raw material prices hovering close to current market prices, producers find it increasingly difficult to improve margins.

The seasonal summer slowdown has exacerbated the situation, further reducing demand. Many companies will reduce operations during August, some for extended periods, due to lackluster activity.

The overall economic downturn compounds these seasonal challenges, leading to a continuous decrease in demand. This ongoing decline threatens suppliers’ ability to recover margins, with the risk of further margin losses looming.

While there have been isolated reports of price increases, these are not widespread and vary depending on the starting point of the assessment.

Looking ahead, August is unlikely to bring significant improvement. The current economic conditions and seasonal slowdowns suggest that September will also face a sluggish start, with the downward trend in activity in many markets expected to persist for some time.

PA66 Prices in Europe Are Decreasing Amid Lower Benzene Costs

PA66 prices in Europe are decreasing. In July 2024, PA66 prices are dropping by as much as €50 per metric ton, according to GC Intelligence. This decline is largely attributed to a reduction in benzene prices in July, which fell by €162 per metric ton from June.

While benzene prices do impact PA66 costs, they do not significantly affect them as they do for PA6, where benzene comprises a larger share of raw material costs. Consequently, the price decrease for PA6 has been more towards triple digits.

Demand for PA66 remains low, with suppliers actively seeking to maintain volume sales. The typical summer slowdown is in full effect, leading to reduced purchasing activity as plants shut down for the holiday period. Despite high freight rates making imports less competitive, the market has not seen a corresponding rise in demand.

The prolonged lead times and elevated freight costs have made PA66 prices from Asia uncompetitive. Consequently, these prices are now higher than European prices, leading to a lack of offers from Asian suppliers.

Additionally, the market faces challenges due to significant exposure to sectors such as automotive, electrical, electronics, construction and industrial applications. These sectors are currently experiencing poor activity due to weak economic conditions.

In this environment of low demand, the reduction in raw material costs has led suppliers to lower their prices, with little room to improve ongoing poor margins.

PA6 Prices Experience Significant Decline in July

PA6 prices experience significant decline in July. Preliminary market discussion indicate sharp declines, driven mainly by lower benzene prices.

This decrease in benzene prices has led to reduced costs for caprolactam, the key feedstock for PA6 production

Market discussions indicate that the price drops from June are substantial, exceeding triple digits.

The seasonal summer slowdown and ongoing poor macroeconomic conditions add further pressure on on demand and PA6 prices.

Any positive demand indicators are minimal and do not suggest a recovery. The overall market sentiment remains pessimistic amidst these challenging conditions.