Asia PMMA prices fall on supply glut, further fall expected

12 April 2013 05:51  [Source: ICIS news]

BRISBANE (ICIS)--Asian general-purpose (GP) polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) prices are expected to fall further on the back of oversupply and weak downstream demand, industry players said on Friday.

In the week ended 11 April, prices on a CFR (cost& freight) SE (southeast) Asia basis were lower by $30/tonne (23/tonne) at $2,520-2,750/tonne.

Prices on a CFR China basis were also $30/tonne lower at $2,200-2,280/tonne during the same period.

Because of the weak downstream demand, regional producers were compelled to drop their prices despite initial expectations of a rollover.

The increase in regional inventories has also dampened on buying sentiment, with many end-users not in a hurry to build up their inventory given the cargo availability and slow consumption.

One South Korean producer said: ‘There is not much buying interest [from China], I may have to revise my prices ideas downwards.’

Weakening prices seen in the upstream methyl methacrylate (MMA) sector also added downward pressure.

In the week ended 5 April, Asian MMA prices for bulk cargoes of more than 500 tonnes were lower by $30-40/tonne at $2,090-2,110/tonne CFR SE Asia as compared to the previous week.

Prices for 20-300 tonne iso-tank MMA cargoes were lower by $30/tonne at $2,120-2,150/tonne CFR SE Asia in the same week.

In China’s domestic market, PMMA prices were lower by yuan (CNY) 100-300/tonne ($16-48/tonne) at CNY16,700-17,000/tonne DEL in the week ended 12 April, because of lower deals and discussions.

Offers by at least three domestic PMMA suppliers have dropped by CNY200-300/tonne because of poor demand and high inventory pressure.

Offers by a local PMMA producer was heard at CNY17,000/tonne DEL. Deals were limited to those buying on a need-to basis, and were heard at CNY16,700/tonne DEL.

Looking forward, market participants remain pessimistic about the near-term forecast and expect PMMA prices to fall further, given that the market is burdened by weak downstream demand and a supply glut amid the weak global economy.

PMMA is a transparent thermoplastic, often used as a lighter, shatter-resistant alternative to glass.

($1 = 0.76)

($1= CNY6.20)

By: Junie Lin

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