Looming holidays dampen demand in Italy’s polymer markets

17-Nov-11
Trading activity in recent days has fallen in Italy’s polymer markets as the looming end-year holidays, imminent winter season, as well as the recent political and financial turmoil in the country dampened demand, which had already been slow for some time due to buyers’ expectations of further price cuts, as per ChemOrbis. A source at a South European PVC producer reported that selling only limited quantities this month, even as a company source at a Central European PVC producer complained about receiving fewer calls from their customers as demand is really weak at this time of the year. “We are yet to sell out our allocations,” he lamented. "Suppliers’ warehouses are full of material even though several producers have reduced their operating rates to bring supply and demand back into balance,” a PP buyer speculated. Italy’s polymer markets traditionally tend to slow down ahead of the year-end as a large majority of players prefer to retreat to the sidelines for Christmas holidays, which keep players across Europe away from their desks for the entire week, as per ChemOrbis. Players don’t expect to see much improvement in demand anytime soon considering the fact that buyers are reducing their purchasing volumes due to year-end bookkeeping concerns and lackluster end-product demand in the winter season for many applications. “Most buyers will shut their plants in the first week of December due to a Bank Holiday in Italy, which will be followed by Christmas holidays towards the end of the month. December will be a short month in terms of working days,” a PVC seller reported. Thin trading activity in Italy’s polymer markets forced many suppliers to concede to larger decreases than that of the monomer contract price drops this month but it didn’t help buyers’ purchases to go beyond their minimum needs.“We don’t expect to see much improvement in demand even if prices move lower,” a PE buyer stated.”We don’t foresee any improvement in the market activity for the rest of this year,” a PE reseller agreed. Sentiment has also cooled off in the PS market despite a massive rise for November in spot styrene prices across Europe. “PS prices should not rise next month considering the fact that December will be a short month in terms of working days and demand will slowdown further rather than improve during the holiday period,” a PS buyer commented. “It will be difficult to pass any price hikes in December considering the gloomy economic climate in Italy and weak demand conditions. Price hikes are more likely to be seen in January,” a PS seller also reported.
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