Major polyurethane foam supply issues continue to affect UK manufacturers of furniture and mattresses. This is despite the appearance....
Flexible polyurethane foam supply chain issues remain
Major polyurethane foam supply issues continue to affect UK manufacturers of furniture and mattresses. This is despite the appearance that the industry had emerged from problems caused by a combination of plants closing for maintenance, force majeures and bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico.
However, BFM understands that the force majeures have not been lifted in two major producers of TDI chemicals, despite production restarting. This together with an unexpectedly high demand across Europe for foam means that supply is on an allocation basis. The result too is that TDI prices have soared and some transactions of TDI in November doubled in price compared to the middle of the year, and the forecast is for the trend to continue in December.
Polyol flexible, the other major chemical ingredient of polyurethane foam, is also trading at a higher price, although not at the increased level of TDI, although polyol prices are expected to ease, despite a major European supplier remaining under force majeure.
On top of this, the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December and the UK will be out of the EU and, irrespective of whether there is a trade agreement or not, border delays are likely and this too could add to the woes of UK manufacturers for just in time supplies like PU foam.