PIE Polymer Price Reports – December 2021

PIE Polymer Price Reports- December 2021

Monthly report published by Plastics Information Europe:

  • Resin and glass fibre even higher
  • Fresh hikes expected in January
  • Securing supply the priority high price level

Although styrene gained only EUR 23/t in December, on top of earlier rises, this was enough to push medium reactive ortho resins higher, even during the year-end period, which is usually marked by weak demand. The upward momentum was felt particularly in supply agreements where prices were low.

January price negotiations will take place in an explosive atmosphere. Converters are expecting to be confronted with producers’ calls for surcharges to recoup their higher costs for shipping and energy, not to mention the recent EUR 119/t rise in the styrene contract.

One thing is certain: resin prices will keep pointing upward, even though demand at the moment is not uniformly robust. Towards the end of 2021, buyers were already scrambling to nail down supply, and this trend is likely to intensify in January. Prices are not the primary factor. The need to maintain sufficient production volume is front and centre.

At the end of 2021, all glass fibre products saw some upward momentum, especially at the lower end of the range. In the new year, fibre producers are seeking hikes of 10% or more, citing in particular higher costs for shipping and energy. Price increases for assembled roving and short glass fibres are likely to be even more substantial.

Whoever is in a position to build up inventory is doing so. Some buyers are even taking precautions now, ahead of an expected maintenance turnaround for a glass furnace in Slovakia that is scheduled to take place in the summer and could thin supply noticeably.

roduction costs, especially for the principal feedstock styrene, drove prices for medium reactive ortho resins a further EUR 80/t to a new record. In particular, contracts sealed at lower prices were affected. Even large customers could not avoid paying more. In the meantime, even the thermosetting resins segment is beginning to experience calls for energy and transportation surcharges. Up to now, these were only aimed at the thermoplastics market.

Little change is expected in December. Resin producers facing higher costs will renew their calls for energy and transportation surcharges, and some will succeed in increasing prices. Most will take effect together with Q1 2022 contract negotiations.

Pressure on converters will gain further momentum when suppliers succeed in adding contract clauses calling for energy surcharges, and this looks likely to be soon. Hardly any buyers will be able to avoid paying if they don’t want to risk supply delays.

The same goes for buyers of glass fibre, who will see announcements of triple-digit hikes at the latest in the upcoming first quarter. That producers will be successful in passing these through is questionable, due to the soft demand. Assembled roving and short glass fibre, for which the supply side is seeking increases of up to EUR 300/t, will surely move upward, possibly already during December.

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