Asia styrenics spot prices steady despite falls in crude futures

25 August 2010 08:56  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot prices of polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin have remained buoyant on stable feedstock values and firm demand, despite the further weakening of crude futures to below $72/bbl (€57/bbl), market players said on Wednesday.

However, sellers acknowledged that buying momentum had slowed amid the uncertain economic outlook for the US and Europe.

“The slowing economic recovery in the US has dampened sentiment among resin players in Asia,” said a Hong Kong-based trader.

Despite those concerns, spot prices of PS and ABS resins held steady this week at around $1,250/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China and $1,950/tonne CFR China, respectively, ICIS data showed.

“Stable feedstock styrene prices have underpinned the values of resins,” said an ABS producer in China.

Furthermore, consumption of resins was expected to remain firm into September, said market players, who added that Chinese downstream producers would typically ramp up their outputs in the third quarter of the year for export ahead of the Christmas season.

The players said that while the export sector might be affected by the economic slowdown in the US and Europe, domestic Chinese demand was expected to mitigate the shortfall.

“The government is keen to maintain sufficient credit liquidity in the domestic market, in order to keep the overall Chinese economy buoyant,” said a resin producer based in eastern China.

There would be strong demand for resins in the near term, he added.

“Demand for resins in September should be strong, but would taper off in the later part of the month because of the long Chinese National Day holidays in early October,” said another trader in Hong Kong.  

PS and ABS resins are used in a wide variety of applications, including the manufacture of toys, office equipment and consumer electronics.

($1 = €0.79)

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By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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