03 December 2010 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--November acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices in Europe have settled at rollovers to plus €10/tonne ($13/tonne) compared with October, as producers were unable to pass on the full extent of the price increase in the upstream styrene barge contract, sources said on Friday.
Prices for black and colour grades were mostly stable, as customers had already taken on significant price increases in previous months due to spiking costs of pigments, buyers and sellers said.
There was an increase of €10/tonne at the high end of the range for extrusion and natural-injection moulding grades, because of the €44/tonne increase in the styrene barge contract for November.
ICIS assessed extrusion-grade material at €1,890-1,940/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
Manufacturers struggled to pass on more of the feedstock costs as production activity was slowing down towards the end of the year, especially in the downstream construction sector, which is generally quiet through the winter.
Some players said that the traditional slowdown was not as pronounced this year as in previous years, creating a more balanced situation. One producer put this down to inventory levels not being as high as in past years, and so customers did not have stocks to run down.
A buyer argued that while demand wasn’t too bad for this time of year, it was mainly a result of customers pre-buying; customers did not want to be faced with the same situation as last January, when prices jumped by €100-120/tonne on short supply and high feedstock costs. Consequently, buying interest could drop significantly in January, the buyer added.
As demand was fairly healthy, producers said they were looking to implement a €30-50/tonne increase in December to pass on the €30-38/tonne rise in the upstream styrene barge contract this month.
Consumers indicated that volume needs for December had already largely been met, as there were only three weeks of production left before the end of the year, so prices should remain stable. They conceded, however, that an increase in January was a distinct possibility.
($1 = €0.76)
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