European POM prices have remained largely unchanged over the past three months, following the summer price reductions. Feedstock costs have not exerted any major upward push and producers have not announced any further planned price increases during the last three months.
The production cutbacks made earlier this year mean that supply and demand in the POM market are in much better balance. There was also limited availability of Asian imports into Europe as a result of rising Asian prices.
Demand remains generally weak but there are signs of a pickup in sales here and there. The white goods and E&E sectors, in particular, have seen a modest sales recovery since mid-year.
PMMA producers called for price hikes of €100/tonne in September following a sharp rise in the cost of methanol. Notations have, however, largely remained unchanged over the subsequent three months with only modest price gains for specialty grades at the top end of the price spectrum.
Material availability has improved since the summer when a number of plants were down for maintenance. Import volumes have declined as a result of rising Asian prices.
There were a few signs that demand had started to recover since mid-year. Automotive sales were a little livelier, along with extrusion grades for sheets and profiles. Sales of PMMA to the building industry remained subdued.
The outlook for European PMMA prices in January is uncertain. Rising feedstock costs will put pressure on producers to raise prices and stock levels at converters are low. On the other hand, there could be a higher volume of Asian material due to the strength of the Euro.