FocusFresh wave of demand to stoke up Asia MMA/PMMA market in Q2

02 February 2011 02:50  [Source: ICIS news]

Optical grade PMMA is a key component for the production of light emitting diodes (LED) used in ultra-thin screen TVs.By Junie Lin

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices of optical grade polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) in Asia may finally end months of stalemate, as demand from key downstream flat-screen television sector is expected to pick up in the second quarter, industry sources said on Wednesday.

TV panel manufacturers had finally brought their inventory back to safe levels, after being in surplus for about three months since September last year, based on a recent report by research firm DisplaySearch.

In December 2010, the producers had estimated seven to eight days’ worth of inventory at the end of December, down from 10-12 days’ worth in October, according to the report.

Surplus inventories of TV panels had restrained manufacturing activities in the downstream light-guided panels (LGP) for (LED) light emitting diode (LED) TV industry, consequently, depressing demand for raw materials MMA and PMMA.

Lacklustre demand had kept MMA prices for cargoes of more than 500 tonnes rangebound at $2,350-2,400/tonne (€1,692-1,728/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia for 22 weeks since early September 2010, according to ICIS data.

Over the same period, optical grade PMMA prices fell by 6% to average at $3,000/tonne CFR NE Asia on 27 January, according to industry sources.

Optical grade PMMA is a key component for the production of light emitting diodes (LED) used in ultra-thin screen TVs.

The electrical equipment sector led by flat-screen TVs had kept MMA and PMMA supply tight early last year, buoying up prices until the strong build-up of surplus TV panel inventory in September.

MMA and PMMA makers were basing their optimism on market prospects from the high sales and production targets set by most major TV brands, such as Samsung and LG, industry sources said.

Increased orders may again tighten supply as was the case in early 2010, they said.

Meanwhile, most PMMA plants were expected to remain operating at high rates during the Lunar New Year festivity early this month, allowing them to build up inventory in anticipation of strong sales after the holidays.

This also meant continued strong demand for MMA despite the holiday season.

($1 = €0.72)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
For more on MMA and PMMA chemical visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Junie Lin

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