Europe first-quarter PMMA rolls over at €2.60-2.75/kg

05 March 2010 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The first-quarter European polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) contract price has rolled over from the fourth quarter of 2009, as suppliers favoured volume over price, market sources said on Friday.

A major producer said that compared with fourth-quarter prices, it managed to get an increase of €0.05-0.08/kg ($0.07-0.10/kg) for some accounts in the first-quarter contract.

The producer added that it had been under “huge pressure” since its competitors failed to move their prices up.

According to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing, the pre-discounted first-quarter contract price was agreed at €2.60-2.75/kg FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

Another large producer also said the PMMA price was unchanged for first-quarter contracts. The producer said this was the result of no aggressive competitive action from sellers, adding that it seemed “some sellers did not have a clear strategy”.

In the distribution market, a reseller said it was now faced with higher prices from its suppliers in Asia because of the strong US dollar and booming demand for PMMA for flat-screen televisions.

“Our suppliers are being very tough and are talking about increases of €0.12/tonne for the second quarter,” the reseller said. “I heard that in Asia, producers are aggressively increasing prices.”

Despite widespread confirmation that the value of PMMA failed to move much in the first three months of 2010, European producers of methyl methacrylate (MMA), the feedstock for PMMA, were seeking increases of €100-150/tonne from 1 March, or as contracts would allow.

“We will go for a €150/tonne increase to restore workable margins as soon as contracts will allow,” said one European MMA producer.

On 19 February, Evonik announced that it was targeting a hike of €120/tonne on MMA from 1 March, or as contracts would allow.

Another global major said it needed at least €100/tonne for the second quarter, based on successive price increases in upstream acetone and propylene.

Propylene has been “very painful”, the global major said, and MMA demand was not strong at the beginning of the year. If things pick up, it added, Evonik's targeted price increase could be on the low side.

Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers, with the largest application being the casting, moulding or extrusion of PMMA or modified polymers.

Acetone is the main feedstock for MMA production.

($1 = €0.74)

For more on methyl methacrylate visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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