Clearly unimpressed by the slight dip in the upward spiral for key feedstock styrene, ortho resins made in part significant strides up the price ladder in January, gaining around EUR 50/t.

Composites/GRP January 2018: Firmer styrene drives resins higher / Trend shows no signs of ending / Glass fibre products upward too

One of the reasons for the noticeable momentum, even for large accounts, was the Q1 contract for maleic acid anhydride, which was fixed at least EUR 100/t higher. Here, the plant shutdowns in the Chinese chemical industry were mostly to blame. In contrast, phthalic acid hydride made only marginal price strides.

Notations for most glass fibre products rose at the beginning of the new year. European producers in particular benefited from the EU’s punitive duties on Asian material. Prices for standard chopped strand mats, which had recently given way, posted the most impressive gains, followed by assembled roving used for the most part in automotive applications.

In reaction to strong demand from customers across the application spectrum at the beginning of the month, many composites producers refilled dwindling inventories.

In February, resins prices are certain to move further upward, especially as the monthly styrene contract was fixed substantially higher. Glass fibre products are more likely to see a rollover as after steep hikes at the beginning of the year buyers will surely try to resist their suppliers’ efforts to push notations still higher. High-end chopped strand mats may be an exception. Manufacturers of these products may well try to make up lost ground. 

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