Asia styrenics prices weak on lacklustre demand

10 November 2009 08:38  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Spot polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices have been stagnant despite rising feedstock costs, as end-user demand has remained weak, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Prices of styrene monomer (SM) - the feedstock for PS - had risen to around $1,060/tonne (€710/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) China this week from the low $1,000s/tonne levels CFR China in the second half of October, according to global market intelligence service, ICIS pricing.

Styrenic resin sellers said business had been thin when they hiked their offers for PS by some $20/tonne this week to $1,160-1,180/tonne CFR China, with offers for ABS nudged up by as much to $1,480-1,520/tonne CFR China.

They said it was difficult to increase plastics prices due to lacklustre demand in the key Chinese market.

"Demand for plastics in southern China in particular had weakened" after the exports manufacturing season ended in October, said a trader in Hong Kong,

“End-users were resistant to the price hikes as November and December are typically slow months,” said a Taiwanese producer.

Resin suppliers were keen to raise prices, citing squeezed margins from rising SM numbers. However, they conceded that price targets were difficult to achieve as export demand continued to wane.

Meanwhile, demand in China mostly along eastern parts of the country has remained ample but the buying pattern among local end-users was erratic, industry sources said.

“Local buyers would come out to buy material when prices ease and stay away when prices increase, hence it is not easy to gauge buyers behaviour," said another trader in Hong Kong.

Also, the weaker prices in southern China had prompted eastern Chinese buyers to adopt a cautious stance when purchasing resins, market sources said.

($1 = €0.67)

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By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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