Europe flexible polyols prices roll over, mixed views on demand

19 March 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European flexible polyols prices rolled over in March as participants held differing views on demand, with some sellers quoting margin recovery increases of up to €30/tonne, sources said Wednesday.

One major producer said it is rolling over its prices despite having good demand as it had already achieved a €20-30/tonne increase in February. Other producers in northwest, central and eastern Europe quoted March increases of up to €30/tonne.

“Polyols prices will be a mix of selective increases and rollovers,” a northwest European producer said.

The consensus among buyers, on the other hand, was that prices had rolled over despite seller attempts at increases due to a stable feedstock and weak demand levels.

One buyer even quoted a €20/tonne reduction in its prices from one supplier to incentivise buying in a balanced-to-weak market. A second buyer said demand is soft due macroeconomic conditions.

“Flex demand is still soft due to reduced consumer confidence and spending for economic reasons,” the second buyer said.

“On top of this, western [European demand] seasonally slows down [at this time of time of the year].”

The feedstock was also noted by buyers - the propylene price has rolled over for two consecutive months in February and March.

Producers, on the other hand, have noted that prior to February, the feedstock price went up by a combined €50/tonne in December and January and there remains a need for margin recovery.

The European flexible polyols price for March was assessed at €1,760-1,830/tonne free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE).

By Stefan Naidu