Asia ABS stagnates despite buoyant feedstock prices; demand weak

20 April 2011 07:30  [Source: ICIS news]

ABS resins are used in casings for electronic products such as personal computers, printers and television sets.By Clive Ong

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot values of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins in Asia are mostly flat this week despite sellers' efforts to push prices higher, as end-users have ample stocks, traders said on Wednesday.

“While offers have increased, trades concluded remained mostly below $2,300/tonne (€1,610/tonne),” said a resin trader.

Producers quoted above $2,300/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China and Hong Kong for ABS parcels, up from the mid-to-high $2,200/tonne CFR China and Hong Kong levels in early April, they said.

But end-users still have sufficient stocks to tide them over in the near term and are in no hurry to procure resins, traders said.

Recent spikes in prices of ABS key feedstocks, styrene monomer (SM) and butadiene (BD), have eroded the margins of resin producers.

SM prices were up $50/tonne week on week to average $1,450/tonne (€1,015/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China in the week ending 15 April, while BD jumped $225/tonne over the same period to an average of $3,100/tonne CFR northeast (NE) Asia, according to ICIS data.

Prices of acrylonitrile (ACN), another key ABS raw material, were steady at $2,775/tonne CFR NE Asia, the data showed.

 “On the whole, the cost of making ABS has risen significantly over the past two weeks,” said a resin producer.

Demand, on the other hand, softened in the aftermath of the Japanese disasters on 11 March as the country’s supply of electronic parts and components to China has been disrupted, market sources said.

“Certain manufacturing activities of consumer electronics and office equipments have slowed down, which reduced demand for ABS,” said a Taiwan-based ABS producer.

The resins are used in casings for electronic products such as personal computers, printers and television sets.

ABS suppliers expect consumption of the resin to remain slow until early next month, after the Labor Day holidays on 30 April – 2 May. Typically, factories in China ramp up the production of finished goods for export towards the middle of the year and into the third quarter.

Major suppliers of ABS in Asia include Chimei, Formosa Chemical & Fibre, LG Chem, Cheil Samsung, Kumho Petrochemical and Toray Plastics.

($1 = €0.70)

Read John Richardson and Malini Hariharan’s blog – Asian Chemical Connections

For more on acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Please visit the complete ICIS plants and projects database

By: Clive Ong
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