Europe ABS prices down €60-90/tonne on feedstock, demand

25 November 2011 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European November acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) contracts settled down by €60-90/tonne – depending on grade and producer – on the back of falling feedstock values and weak demand.

Standard and commercial grade prices mostly fell by at least €75/tonne ($100/tonne), in line with lower production costs after styrene, butadiene (BD) and acrylonitrile (ACN) values dropped this month by €23-25/tonne, €250/tonne and €65-80/tonne, respectively.

However, in several cases buyers paying higher levels last month negotiated even bigger reductions – minus-€100/tonne in exceptional circumstances – as demand has dropped off markedly since September. The majority went down by €75-90/tonne.

Buying interest is usually a little muted in the fourth quarter as it is low season for the downstream construction sector, but has been compounded this year by nervousness over the eurozone debt crisis and recession fears.

A couple of sellers argued that November actually showed some slight improvement on October, but this was explained by end-users replenishing stocks by the bare minimum in order to fulfil their production needs for the rest of the year.

In general, customers are winding down inventories and only purchasing on a need-to basis.

Compounding grade prices are now pegged at €1,910-1,925/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

The situation for high-heat and certain speciality grades is a little different, as buying interest from the downstream automotive sector remains healthy and availability tightened because of the force majeure declared by Styrolution at its plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

The facility is expected to partially restart in mid-December after a fire on 23 October caused severe damage to the cable infrastructure, but will not be fully up and running until next year, a company source said.

High-heat grades in particular therefore continue to perform reasonably well, and producers got away with decreases of just €60/tonne in many cases.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on ABS visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Amandeep Parmar
+44 208 652 3214

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