PIE Polymer Price Reports – April 2023

PIE Polymer Price Reports-April 2023

  • Prices slide as energy surcharges fall away
  • Inflation reduces demand sharply
  • Big picture fuzzy
  • Little change likely in May

The styrene reference contract didn’t have much meaning for medium reactive ortho resin prices in April. While SM rose by a modest EUR 19/t, all other starting materials saw declines that were especially steep for the Q2 maleic acid anhydride contract, fixed EUR 200/t lower.

Against this backdrop, the inflation-related extremely weak demand and the gradual phase-out of energy surcharges were the most important factors influencing the market last month.

All in all, consumer demand was, and remains, exceptionally soft. Converters active in the thermoplastics sector saw many projects delayed. Only the medical device market seemed to be holding its own.

For May, the signals don’t all point to Go. Demand could pick up slightly – as visitors to the recent JEC Composites trade fair in Paris hoped – but on the whole, the overall situation for resin as well as glass fibre product is uneven and difficult to analyse.

The firming styrene monomer reference, which added EUR 55/t in May, could slow the downward trend but it may not be sufficient for the resin price slide to bottom out. Instead, the declining energy surcharges could add pressure.

With the exception of high end chopped strand mats, glass fibre products also cost less in April, thanks in part to the declining energy surcharges. These braked the expected upswing as Chinese demand began absorbing more of the material that otherwise might have been exported to Europe. It’s possible, then, that prices will balance out.

For more than 35 years, PIE has been an invaluable source of information for European plastics industry decision makers – a quick, yet in-depth look at the development of plastics markets and polymer prices. Available online 24/7 and as a printed newsletter twice a month. To read the entire report, go to www.pieweb.com and sign up for a 48-hour free trial!