27 March 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European nylon 6 March contract prices have increased by €0.05–0.15/kg ($0.07–0.20/kg) because of the need to regain margins, buyers and sellers said on Tuesday.
Virgin polymer nylon 6 prices finalised at €2.40–2.65/kg FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe). Prices as high as €2.70/kg were mentioned, but not seen as reflective of the bulk of trade. Industrial grades increased by €0.15/kg, to €2.14–2.65/kg, and prime grades rose by €0.10/kg.
At some accounts, virgin polymer prices in March increased by as much as €0.20/kg, depending on starting point.
The price increases came despite the €52/tonne fall in the March benzene contract price. The rises were because of weak nylon margins dating back to the fourth quarter of 2011, when feedstock cost rises could not be passed into the market.
Although the European March benzene contract price fell from the previous month, it is €226/tonne higher than in October 2011, a percentage increase of 32%.
Compared with October 2011, nylon 6 (or polyamide 6) virgin polymer prices are unchanged at the top end, and €0.10/kg lower at the bottom end – a fall of 4%.
Nylon 6 supply is tight because of problems sourcing feedstock caprolactam. Availability of nylon 6 is expected to remain low in April.
Nevertheless, views on demand are mixed. The market remains regionalised and consumption is varied, depending on end-use market.
Buying interest in southern Europe is lower than in northern Europe because of weaker macroeconomic conditions in the former.
Textiles consumption remains weak because of poor buying interest in Asia.
Views on automotive consumption are divided. Demand from premium vehicle manufacturers remains firm, while mass-market producers are ordering less because of weak consumer purchasing power, according to market sources.
($1 = €0.75)
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