Europe PMMA Q3 contracts rollover as demand softens and supply eases

08 July 2011 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) third-quarter contracts largely rolled over from the record high values of the previous quarter, because of softer demand and improved availability, market sources said on Friday.

Contracts settled at €3.20-3.23/kg ($4.57-4.61/kg) and were assessed on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

“Demand is stable to soft, and there is more Asian material on the market, because buying interest there is not as strong as it was before,” a major producer said. “Prices this quarter will rollover,” it added.

Another major producer said: “Even though the cost of methyl methacrylate (MMA) is going to increase, the PMMA market is rebalancing and we now anticipate settling at a rollover.”

Sources said prices had largely remained the same, with a few slight adjustments either way. The reduced offtake levels are attributed to the summer slowdown, but after steady growth over the last year, some fear that demand has reached a plateau.

Feedstock MMA contracts for the coming quarter are so far settling with increases of €30/tonne, despite the reduced cost of raw materials acetone and methanol, softer demand and better supply.

Players in this industry describe availability as balanced to tight and prices are increasing on supply limitations. Third-quarter contracts in the MMA market are likely to conclude within the next two weeks.

“MMA is unique in that it is still on an upward trend. The peak in demand for PMMA is probably behind us now,” a PMMA seller said.

Offtake is likely to pick up after August, but market players believe the second half of the year will be weaker than the first.

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.

PMMA is a transparent thermoplastic, often used as a light or shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on PMMA visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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