10 May 2013 15:42 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Demand for methyl methacrylate (MMA) in Europe has improved slightly in recent weeks which has restored some confidence in the sector following a slow start to the second-quarter, a producer said on Friday.
“Demand is up a bit on April and that was up a bit on March, so it’s following a trend,” a producer said.
This week’s holidays across Europe have resulted in a quiet market, but orders are being made. Sources said there are small signs of improvement from the coatings sector, although demand remains fairly disappointing, and the mood cautious.
April typically marks the start of the peak season for the coatings industry, but most players said demand had failed to pick up last month, partly owing to weakened macroeconomic conditions, and also because of colder-than-usual spring temperatures in Europe.
“Demand is following the path that we had thought,” the producer said. “It's building a little from the coatings sector - a small incremental improvement - and that gives a bit of confidence.”
While temperatures have risen, most countries in Europe are still experiencing colder weather than expected for the time of year.
Offtake from the derivative polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) industry remains steady at a low level.
The outlook for the MMA sector in June is largely in line with current demand levels, but buying interest might pick up if temperatures warm.
“Looking at June, I don't know if it'll compensate for the softer start or whether it will carry on with the gradual improvement,” the producer added. “I expect a continuation of what we've seen develop in April and May, and it could be better if the weather improves.”
Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers, with the largest application being the casting, moulding or extrusion of PMMA or modified polymers. PMMA is a transparent thermoplastic, often used as a lighter, shatter-resistant alternative to glass.
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