European prices saw further substantial falls in Q2 as a result of continued demand weakness and ample availability.
The methanol contract price stabilised in Q2, following lower prices in the first quarter. Despite this, POM suppliers were still forced to make price concessions to converters with notations at the lower end of the range down by up to €150/tonne over the last three months.
POM order intake has remained extremely weak over recent months due to the impact of the economic downturn on key end user sectors such as automotive and E&E. At the same time, material availability is very good, with local supply supplemented by wide availability of Asian imports.
There were, however, reports in the market that Chinese POM demand has picked up significantly since April, which could lead to lower volumes heading for Europe, and a tightening in availability. European POM suppliers are hoping that prices could be heading for a period of relative stability over the summer months as supply becomes more limited and methanol prices are firmer.
PMMA prices have crashed over the past three months following a cumulative reduction of €450/tonne in MMA contract prices so far this year. Producers were slow to pass on the feedstock cost reduction earlier in the year, but the price decline for PMMA has accelerated over the past quarter.
PMMA demand weakness continued for most of quarter due to the impact of the economic crisis on key end use sectors such as automotive. There was, however, some sign of a modest seasonal pick-up in sales for May, particularly to the construction sector. The offer remains well balanced in line with the lower demand.
PMMA suppliers may be obliged to make further price concessions over coming months given the fall in feedstock costs.