N America ABS spot prices on feedstock costs, imports

08 June 2012 22:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) spot prices in the Americas were assessed down by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €87/tonne) because of falling feedstock costs for butadiene (BD) and acrylonitrile (ACN) as well as the availability of imported material, sources said on Friday.

The June BD contract fell by 27%, while the May ACN contract, which is formula-based, fell by 13.5%, largely because of the decrease in the contract settlement for propylene.

May styrene contract prices rolled over from April.

ABS prices could decrease further because of lower feedstock costs and the continued availability of imported material.

Extrusion medium impact grade ABS in bulk fell to 134-157 cents/lb from 139-162 cents/lb.

Producers said that order rates remain strong and are even building in some areas, although they did confirm that the imported material is having an impact on the market.

Buyers said they have benefitted from imported ABS, which is less expensive than domestic material.

Some market sources said much of the imported material is destined for pipe material used in the construction market.

Despite the declines, some buyers are worried that ABS prices are falling too steeply.

Those buyers are typically holding material in inventory that was bought or produced at prices that would not generate them the profit margin they have budgeted if forced to sell at low prices.

Only the building and construction sector of the ABS market is not requiring material at strong levels, producers said.

Producers continue to search for new avenues for the use of ABS.

One trader said the inquiries from buyers seeking material have been decreasing to low levels not often seen in the past several years.

More than one source said the ABS market will soon hit bottom, and believes it may just around the corner.

North American producers of ABS include INEOS ABS, Network Polymers, SABIC Innovative Plastics Styrolution and Styron.

($1 = €0.79)


By: Wesley Busch
+1 713 525 2653



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