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RECENT POLYMER-MARKET DEVELOPMENTS

It is a fact that the availability of homopolymer resins for film manufacture has been severely limited over the last 3 months. The underlying reason was that since February, 14 polymer resin production plants declared Force Majeure and subsequently proceeded with shutdown of their production facilities. Dysfunction within the PP supply chain was already apparent since February; it was during that period that the first Force Majeure announcements were released. In a domino series of unfortunate events, the situation progressively deteriorated (scarcity of resins leading to scarcity of films leading to increased prices): overall, an approximately 20% reduction in total volumes of polymeric resin/film produced across Europe and the Middle East was noted. The natural outcome was a substantial increase in film prices and an equally substantial extension of lead times by 2-4 weeks.

Current status:
  • 20% reduction in overall volumes of polymeric materials produced.
  • The EUR/USD exchange rate lies at its lowest level in at least 10 years.
  • Therefore, suppliers from Middle East prefer to sell to Asia instead of Europe.
    Even in a scenario where prices continue to increase in both Asia and Europe, Asia would still remain the focus for resin suppliers, bearing in mind that import duty levels in both regions are comparable.
  • Prices of all polymeric resins increase on a monthly basis.
  • Regular spot suppliers are no longer able to supply, and contractual customers are prioritised.

In such a turbulent environment, our primary goal is supply-chain security for ourselves and our customers. At A. Hatzopoulos SA, we take pride in achieving operational and supply-chain stability under extraordinarily adverse circumstances, caused by a generalised shortage in polymeric raw materials. This, of course, would never be attainable without support within our established network of long-term partners, suppliers and clients.