24 January 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--First-quarter contract prices in the European polyacetal (POM) market fell by €0.05-0.15/kg ($0.06-0.19/kg) from the previous quarter, on improved availability and stable to soft demand, buyers and sellers said on Tuesday.
POM natural grade was assessed at €2.20-2.40/kg FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
Increased capacity in Europe, as well as an influx of imported volumes from Asia - as a result of lower demand there - has put downward pricing pressure on the industry, which is now balanced to long. Specialty chemical producer Ticona started up its 140,000 tonne/year plant in September last year at the Frankfurt Hoechst Industrial Park in Germany, helping to ease tight supply.
With Taiwanese, Korean and Chinese volumes entering the market, one buyer said: “Imported material is putting downward pressure on European prices.”
“Demand in China has gone down, there has been an increase in capacity there as well, and there are more people keen to export to Europe,” a distributor said.
Automotive demand remains steady, but offtake from the construction sector is weak. Despite orders coming in, sellers say that imports are putting a strain on margins. “Demand is there, but we are severely cutting margins to stay competitive with imports.”
Polyacetal (also known as polyoxymethylene or polyformaldehyde) is an engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts that require high stiffness, low friction and excellent dimensional stability.
($1 = €0.77)
For more on POM, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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