FocusAsia polycarbonate likely to be stable throughout Q4

17 October 2012 08:00  [Source: ICIS news]

By Christina Siantar

DVDs are among the downstream applications of polycarbonate.SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot values of polycarbonate (PC) in Asia are likely to remain largely stable in the fourth quarter despite producers’ attempts to implement price hikes because of ample supply and sluggish downstream demand, market sources said on Wednesday.

On 10 October, prices of general purpose (GP) extrusion-grade PC in Taiwan were assessed at $2,400-2,450/tonne (€1,848-1,887/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance and freight) Taiwan, while those for optical-grade PC were at $2,100-2,300/tonne CIF Taiwan, according to ICIS data.

Hong Kong (HK) spot PC prices for GP moulding-grade and optical-grade PC were at $2,500-2,600/tonne CIF HK and $2,250-2,350/tonne CIF HK, respectively.

Spot PC prices have fallen by an average of $275-300/tonne from their peak in May this year, according to ICIS.
“Prices will decrease because our demand is very weak,” said a major buyer in the optical-grade PC sector in Chinese.

“Optical-grade PC demand would not improve in the next quarter as we have cut our operating rate considering poor downstream CDs and DVDs demand and pricing,” another buyer said in Chinese.

In October, producers attempted to increase prices by $30-50/tonne because of thin spread between PC and feedstock bisphenol A (BPA), market sources said.

Based on the average spot BPA prices in September at around $1,710/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia, the spread is at $500-850/tonnes.

PC producers said that spreads of $800/tonnes and above are preferred, adding that further price declines will squeeze their already thin margins.

“Market will be quiet in the fourth quarter as [a] seasonal peak for the Christmas holidays production is over,” said a regional trader.

“Despite firm offers by producers, opportunity for prices to increase is limited because real demand is very bad,” he added.

“The PC market is oversupplied across all three grades,” said another trader.

Most industry players view that growth in PC capacity has been exceeding the increase in demand. Raw material inflation will be the main driver of any price uptrend, they said.

Market sentiment in the PC market remained bearish and traders are unwilling to stock up too much inventory in view of the ongoing weak macroeconomic conditions, which hamper global demand for finished products.

PC is an engineering plastic with durability as well as high impact and heat resistance qualities hence suitable for a wide range of applications including automotive, construction materials, electronic casings, CDs and DVDs.

($1 = €0.77)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections
Request a free ICIS sample report for the latest prices and development in the Asian petrochemical markets

By: Christina Siantar
+65 6780 4327

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