LONDON (ICIS)--The European first-quarter 2014 contract settlements for polycarbonate (PC) are likely to be confirmed at a reduction but any falls are not expected to last long, according to sources in the market on Thursday.
Prices look set to fall in the first quarter by an average of €0.05/kg. However, according to some players, this price reduction will probably prove to be short-lived, and the recent decline in European PC values could start to be reversed as early as next month.
Some business is conducted on the basis of monthly contracts, rather than the quarterly contracts that have characterised the market in the past, and sellers are already setting price increases to take effect within the current quarter.
One producer said it knew that significant competitors were informing customers of a hike in March, and it planned to introduce a price increase itself.
While the exact magnitude of the increment had not yet been decided, a decision would be made within about one week, and it was likely to be around €0.15/kg for purchasers in March, although this was more than what other suppliers were already setting.
The producer stated price rollovers now appeared to be commonplace for February, and the focus of attention was becoming fixed on March.
It added the prospective increases were not merely aspirational targets but, in some instances, converters had already settled at increases of around €0.07-0.08/kg.
The producer said this kind of rapid reversal was not uncommon at this time of year when upstream feedstock prices were on an uptrend and converters were anticipating a possible larger PC increase ahead.