Polycarbonate prices continued to climb in late autumn, but the upward price push finally ran out of steam as the year drew to a close.
Material availability gradually improved during the final quarter of 2010 as supply restrictions caused by maintenance work at major PC plants in the late autumn came to an end. Imports were reported as being at normal levels.
Order intake was good throughout the last quarter with some producers reportedly sold out and unable to meet demand for any additional material. Automotive industry polycarbonate demand was said to be significantly higher during the second half of the year than in the first six months.
Polycarbonate prices are expected to rise sharply in Q1 as producers announced planned price hikes ranging between €260-300/tonne, in most cases taking effect from 1st December 2010.
ABS suppliers refrained from announcing any fresh price hikes during the final quarter last year, following some sizeable price gains in Q3. ABS prices were nevertheless adjusted upward to reflect rising feedstock costs. Black/white grade prices were particularly affected by a surge in the cost of titanium dioxide.
ABS natural grade availability improved during the last quarter following completion of BASF's annual maintenance programme at their Antwerp plant. Coloured and black/white grades were in tighter supply. Imported material, which had not been much in evidence for quite a while, started to reappear towards the end of the year.
ABS demand was relatively lively throughout the last quarter with particularly good order intake from the automotive and E&E sectors. Amid reports of restricted availability and rising Asian prices, converters are determined not to run short of material.