Europe PMMA Q4 contract prices roll over on weak demand

02 November 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) fourth-quarter contracts have rolled over from the previous quarter on lacklustre demand in a long market, sources said on Friday.

Contracts settled at €2.20-2.40/kg ($2.86-3.12/kg) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

“We have settled the majority of Q4 prices at a rollover,” a producer said.

There have been a few decreases in exceptional cases, depending on the starting point, but these are not considered representative of the market.

One consumer said: “We have recorded a slight decrease on Q4 PMMA, not a rollover, mainly due to a nice decrease in the cost of acetone.”

Another producer said: “PMMA prices mostly rolled over in Q4 to those large customers where we couldn't increase prices in Q3; and there were numerous of these.”

PMMA demand is weak, particularly in southern Europe, because consumer confidence has been sapped by eurozone debt concerns. Sellers said that the economy is affecting industrial production, adding that despite upstream cost pressure, it had been a challenge to pass on increases downstream where buying interest has dwindled.

Suppliers have been concerned about the impact of raw material costs on production margins this year, and had aimed to achieve €100/tonne hikes this quarter to recover costs.

Demand has not been as healthy as players would have liked. The market remains cautious amid economic instability, and inventories are being carefully managed.

Consumption levels are steady-to-soft, and most participants are likely to begin end-of-year destocking in the coming weeks. PMMA demand in 2013 is expected to remain flat.

Upstream, methyl methacrylate (MMA) fourth-quarter contracts have decreased, owing to the length in the market and because of softer demand.

PMMA is an acrylic polymer that has high ultraviolet (UV) resistance and is available as resin or sheet. About two-thirds of consumption is in sheets produced by extrusion or casting, while the remainder is moulded into various shapes. PMMA's primary use is in car headlamps and taillights.

The second-largest use is in construction (pool and sanitary ware, architectural fittings), and glazing/signage.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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