05 March 2013 17:51 [Source: ICIS news]
(recasts, adding nylon 6 to lead for clarity)
LONDON (ICIS)--European nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 demand may not see a peak-season in 2013 because of weak general economic conditions, several sources, including a major nylon producer, said on Tuesday.
“Doesn't feel like there'll be a peak season – in Europe for sure, in Asia it depends,” a nylon producer said.
March would typically see the start of the fibre season and the approach of the peak-season in automotives, but negative economic sentiment has meant consumption is showing no signs of an increase in these sectors at present.
“With the exception of the German car industry nothing's moving. My market's not increasing. I have a feeling that it's [2013 peak-season] not going to be a good moment,” a nylon buyer said.
Sources said Asia, in particular China, remains an unknown quantity, and that export volumes of finished goods to the region could determine demand levels in the first half, but added a recovery in Europe is not expected.
A producer forecast 2013 consumption to be anywhere from flat with 2012 levels to a fall of 10%, depending on Asia.
Players said post-New Year restocking seen in Europe in January and February has now ended and that March demand is the first opportunity to gauge true underlying demand and will set the tone for the rest of the year.
Although automotive demand is highly fragmented by geographical location and end-use, sources estimate consumption from vehicle manufacturers is around 15% lower year-to-date in 2013 than compared with the same period last year.
Automotive demand is higher for premium vehicles - driven by exports to Asia on the back of upward social mobility. Premium automotives have been shielded from the general economic downturn because of their exclusivity and lower availability.
Demand is weakest in southern Europe - where some sources have estimated auto demand in February 2013 at up to 30% below the same month in 2012. This is because the south of Europe has been more heavily affected by the eurozone debt crisis.
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