Price spiral continues for European thermoplastics
European standard thermoplastics prices continued their upward price spiral last month.
The ongoing unrest in northern Africa and the Middle East drove naphtha prices to a record level of $1,025/tonne (€733/tonne on 7 March) and this development sparked increases in the March monthly contract prices for petrochemical feedstocks. Polymer producers managed to pass on the full cost increase to converters without much resistance last month. In some cases, resin prices increased well in excess of the cost rise. PET prices, for example, increased by €100/tonne, double the rise in feedstock costs. Most other polymer classes saw prices rise in line or just ahead of the monomer cost. While availability has improved in most polymer markets since the turn of the year, material still remains tight as a result of cracker outages. With prices at such high levels, converters were ordering only what they needed to meet current orders. However, as seasonal demand picks up they will come under growing pressure to top up their inventories.