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Polycarbonate (PC) Market Prices, Forecasts, and Analysis

Market Update

November 2021

European polycarbonate (PC) supply was in better shape in November compared to the critical shortages experienced in the spring. But overall, the market remained tight, with long lead times and many buyers on allocations.

The shortages are supporting sellers to implement the recently announced price increases. The push for higher prices were blamed on the rising costs of utilities, higher prices of feedstocks, ongoing logistic disruptions, and strong demand.

Meanwhile, faced with supply shortages amid a reasonable strong demand, buyers are relying on the more expensive imports to close the gap. The latest trade data (Exhibit 3) shows an increase in imports to August this year compared to last year.

This trend has not only continued after the summer and in November but could intensify as prices are increasing in Europe while demand is falling in Asia.

However, the potential for Asian volumes to displace domestic volumes remains plausible but somewhat limited. The disruptions and high costs of transport will continue to place a premium on import prices. Import prices have been much higher than domestic prices, even if this gap could potentially close considerably in the coming weeks.

A sudden increase in imports from Asia looks unlikely for now. But the unprecedented increase in capacity expected in China next year could eventually cause a global oversupply that has the potential to drastically change the current dynamic.

However, an increase in capacity in China in the next couple of years is unlikely to rescue the European market in the short term. The shortages will likely continue at least for the first half of next year, reinforced by the rising infections that will no doubt continue to disrupt value chains.

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