Polyoxymethylene prices in the North American market experienced a slightly bearish trend, decreasing by 0.5% in the 3rd Quarter of 2023, despite a marginal 0.5% increase in feedstock Formaldehyde prices during the same period. Although the automotive industry sustained robust demand, reporting double-digit sales growth, most manufacturers cleared existing inventories, leading to lower consumption rates. Adequate production levels, coupled with relatively normal consumption rates, resulted in a sufficient gap between current supply and demand, contributing to overall price stability. Exports to Mexico and South America remained steady in the third quarter, and as consumption rates decreased, fewer product orders were imported from Asia, particularly in the electronics sector where demand remained strong despite higher interest rates influencing purchasing sentiments.
Polyoxymethylene prices in the Asian market exhibited a bearish trend, declining by 4% in the third quarter of 2023, despite a more than 7% increase in feedstock Formaldehyde prices. Demand from the downstream sectors, including automotive and electronics, was marginal due to the Chinese economy experiencing deflation in July 2023. Industrial activities diminished, reflected in a PMI below 50 in the first half of the quarter. Automotive sales continued to decline, affecting purchasing sentiments, while demand from the electronics industry showed moderate improvement as the festive season approached. International exports to North America faced challenges as prices stabilized in that market. Economic conditions in Southeast Asia remained challenging, with high production costs attributed to rising feedstock Formaldehyde costs.
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Polyoxymethylene prices in the European market demonstrated a bullish trend, increasing by over 4% due to rising feedstock Formaldehyde prices, which rose by more than 6%. Demand from the automotive industry strengthened with a rebound in UK automotive sales after an initial decline in the first two months of the 3rd Quarter. Supply chain improvements across Germany resulted in increased lead times and elevated transportation costs. Downstream demand, especially in the electronics industry, showed positive signs as trading activities across Europe resumed and overall economic conditions improved. However, production rates remained below normal due to increased input costs, and expectations of the European Central Bank raising interest rates could further escalate factory gate charges. Anticipation of increased demand during festive holidays is likely to boost purchasing activities in the downstream electronics and automotive sectors.
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