Asia ABS prices rise on buoyant feedstock despite weak demand

23 November 2010 08:39  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin prices were firmer this week on elevated feedstock styrene monomer (SM) values despite the current weak demand, traders and producers said on Tuesday.

Offers for December cargoes were mostly heard at $2,200-2,250/tonne (€1,606-1,643/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China, up by $20-30/tonne from the previous week, ICIS data showed.

Feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices had rebounded to $1,260/tonne CFR China last week, prompting ABS sellers to target higher resin numbers, traders said.

“The rebound in SM prices has lifted the sentiment of market players,” said an ABS producer, who added it was difficult to locate cargoes priced at below $2,200/tonne.

The prices of feedstock acrylonitrile (ACN) and butadiene (BD) were also firm at $2,150/tonne CFR northeast (NE) Asia and $2,000/tonne CFR NE Asia, respectively, according to ICIS data.

However, ABS trade had dwindled in China amid the lull season. Some traders said they anticipated that buying interest could emerge only after the Lunar New Year holidays in early February next year.

“The current margins are big for ABS producers, but demand has tapered off,” said a Hong Kong-based trader.

Most end-users had completed their production requirements for the year and were hesitant to pick up additional resins at the current high prices, he added.

“End-users and traders mostly have limited stocks in view of the current slow demand in China,” said another trader in Hong Kong.

Market players told ICIS some buying momentum could emerge in December as end-users would traditionally replenish their stocks in preparation for production next year.

However, sellers said they expected the buying activity to be sporadic.

“Some restocking could take place next month, as the inventories of end-users are low,” said a producer based in Taiwan.

ABS is used in the consumer electronics, office equipment, automotive and toy-manufacturing sectors.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Clive Ong
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