Resins producers push ABS, PC prices for 2010

08 December 2009 18:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) producers are starting early to move prices higher for 2010, although buyers are mixed on how successful any increase effort will be. 

Resins producers Dow Chemical and SABIC Innovative Plastics recently nominated increases for North American PC products - with Dow nominating 15 cents/lb ($331/tonne or €222/tonne), effective on 4 December and SABIC nominating 9 cents/lb, effective on 4 January.

The companies said they needed the price hikes to protect profit margins, as benzene December contract prices rose by 13 cents/lb.

The third major US PC maker, Bayer, declined to comment on whether it issued a price increase announcement. One source not related to the company said it had seen an announcement from Bayer, but others said they had not.

Buyers have said they could see an increase of a few cents by the beginning of the new year, but doubted either producer would gain all that it has asked for during what is traditionally the slowest sales time of the year.

“I think they’re just trying to put a nickel over,” one distributor on the west coast said.

Spot moulding PC prices were assessed at $1.25-1.30/lb DEL (delivered) on 2 December, according to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

SABIC also nominated a 7 cent/lb increase for its ABS products in North America, effective on 4 January, attributing the hike to “unsustainable economics in several key market segments”.

But in this case, the company is the only producer looking for an increase. Its main US competitor, INEOS, said it will not try to raise prices at this time as it does not believe monomer prices are high enough to justify it.  

Buyers said any increase SABIC puts through will only last a short while before the company sees spot customers going elsewhere. In that case, buyers may want to build enough inventory now to last them through January.

“Now would be a good time to buy, but if you don’t you will only have to pay a few cents more, until the end of December at least,” one distributor in the Gulf coast region said.

($1 = €0.67)

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By: Ben Lefebvre
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