LONDON (ICIS)--The drive by European polycarbonate (PC) sellers to hike prices by €0.10/kg or more in the second quarter of 2014 appears to be running out of steam, according to feedback from the market on Wednesday.
A buyer said on Wednesday that it had managed to negotiate down its supplier’s originally proposed price rise to about half of what the supplier had targeted.
Another buyer earlier in the week said its negotiations were almost complete and it expected to settle its contract at a rollover from first-quarter values.
A producer on Wednesday added its comment to the scaling down of seller ambitions by saying it had seen no general increase in prices in the second quarter, and had had to accept a small reduction in a minority of cases, although it had broken the trend in the previous quarter by achieving increases when the market as a whole had sustained further declines.
An executive for another producer, however, stated the situation was more complex. Speaking on Wednesday, he said producers were able to push through increments of around €0.10/kg on what it regarded as commodity grade material at the low end of the price range, simply because upstream costs had made this essential.
While the first producer believed it was always possible to be more successful in securing higher prices for speciality grades, this producer asserted that the major suppliers had failed to achieve any increase in the more expensive performance PC grades.
The company executive said he could not believe it was not possible to obtain an increase from smaller buyers when it had been possible to do so from the typically larger buyers of commodity material. It felt this was “a lost opportunity” and represented a “lack of leadership” in the industry.
Further confirmation of settlements is needed, and quarterly contracts are expected to be concluded by the end of this month.
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