Asia styrenics higher on rising raw material costs

12 January 2011 08:40  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices of polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins trended higher in January as elevated feedstock costs provided support, sellers and traders said on Wednesday.

Offers of general purpose (GP) PS firmed some $20-30/tonne (€15-23) to above $1,500/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China while high impact PS (HIPS) were quoted up $30-40/tonne to around the mid-$1,600s/tonne CFR China.

“Most sellers are targeting higher resin prices as margins are being eroded,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

Key feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices rose above $1,400/tonne CFR China in January, up from $1,290/tonne CFR China a month ago, according to ICIS data.

Meanwhile, demand in Asia had perked up in January as a number of end-users replenished stocks ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in early February. However, a significant pick-up is expected only after the holidays.

“A strong pick-up in demand could emerge only in the second quarter as factories in China typically increase production then,” said a resin producer in Taiwan.

Some ABS offers were quoted at $2,300/tonne CFR China and above this week, up some $20/tonne or more from previous offers.

“ABS prices are also affected by the increase in acrylonitrile (ACN) and butadiene (BD) values,” said another Taiwanese producer.

Spot ACN prices had increased to $2,300/tonne CFR NE (northeast) Asia and BD numbers rose to $2,100/tonne CFR NE Asia this week, some $30-50/tonne higher than a month ago.

Rising energy futures to above $90/bbl this week fuelled talk that petrochemical prices have further upside potential.

“When oil prices [are] on the increase, petrochemical prices would likely trend up further and support resin values,” said another trader in Hong Kong.

Buyers lamented the price increase but some picked up resins to replenish stocks.

"We bought some resins to build up inventories to tide over the Lunar New Year," said a buyer in Hong Kong.

PS is used in the packaging, toys and consumer electronics sectors. ABS is used in the automotive, office equipment, personal computers and consumer electronics sectors.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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