Price know-how December 2017

Feedstocks move up in December resulting in upward pressure on polymer prices.

Whilst the upward crude oil price trend has been intact for a few months, the consequences for standard polymer pricing in December were not really anticipated. In an unusual move, polymer producers have pushed prices forward in a month where typically sales are low and price increases exceptional. However, following poor demand from Continental Europe back in October, it appears that with some encouragement by means of ‘special offers’, significant volumes were sold in November; leaving producers with relatively low inventories moving into December. Given the impact of increasing oil prices on margins, polymer producers have made an unseasonal move, confident that the upward price trend will continue into January.

The surging Benzene price is also supporting calls for further price increases for Engineering Polymers, where already the supply/demand balance is typically now in the favour of the producers. In the case of POM/(poly)acetal, it appears that the likely imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports into China is fuelling demand as buyers attempt to build stock in advance of higher tariffs being imposed. PC, Nylon and PMMA prices continue on an upward trajectory.

The bounce in Styrene Monomer pricing is likely to halt the fall in polystyrene pricing and there is already evidence that ABS prices are now on the increase.

All in all, December is shaping up to be an interesting end to 2017.

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