Asian ABS prices at new low for 2012 after losing more ground

16 May 2012 08:28  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Prices of Asian acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin have fallen further this week to reach the trough for the year.

Offers of prompt parcels were reduced by $30-40/tonne (€23.7-31.6/tonne) from the week ended 11 May to the $1,900-1,950/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China this week but demand remained lacklustre.

“Some trades have already been fixed at under $1,900/tonne this week,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

Spot prices are now at their lowest for the year as the previous low point was at $1,980/tonne CFR in early January and SM prices had peaked this year at above $2,200/tonne CFR in March, according to ICIS data.

Traders believe prices have further downside potential, given the persistent lack of demand and falling feedstock prices.

The weak economic conditions in the US and the eurozone continue to dampen demand for Asian-made products, including ABS.

“The recent flare up in the eurozone crisis has again dampened sentiment and caused global markets to sell off,” said a Taiwanese ABS maker.

The fall in commodities prices took crude futures down to $93/bbl at one point this week, putting downward pressure on prices of raw materials for ABS like styrene monomer (SM) and butadiene (BD).

SM prices fell below $1,400/tonne CFR China this week while BD numbers $2,250/tonne CFR NE (northeast) Asia.

“The decline in feedstock prices dragged ABS numbers lower again this week and lower resin offers could not interest buyers,” said a trader in southeast Asia.

End-users of ABS have largely retreated to the sidelines this week, preferring to delay purchases in anticipation of further price decreases.

Major ABS suppliers in Asia include Chimei Corp and FCFC of Taiwan, LG Chem, Kumho Petrochemical and Cheil Samsung of South Korea and Toray of Japan.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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