14 December 2012 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
Compounding grade (natural) was assessed at €2,165-2,205/tonne ($2,849-2,901/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), injection moulding (natural) at €2,255-2,310/tonne FD NWE and extrusion grade (natural) at €2,180-2,310/tonne FD NWE according to ICIS.
Producers kept prices stable, because reductions of €20-25/tonne in feedstock acrylonitrile (ACN) and €40/tonne in feedstock butadiene (BD) December contract prices balanced out the €15/tonne increase in the styrene December contract price.
Some consumers were able to secure reductions of up to €20/tonne on their December contracts, but this was done on a case-by-case basis, and was not representative of the market as a whole.
Demand is relatively good for the time of year. There is very little product in the supply chain, and some buyers may be purchasing product now, ahead of expected price increases in January, causing demand levels to pick up.
“Demand is picking up, had some request for product for December delivery because customers are too low in stock, and also possibly because of expectations that prices will rise,” a distributor said.
General sentiment in the market is that January will see an increase in feedstock styrene costs, and therefore most players expect ABS prices will follow suit, triggering increased demand.
“It only takes a few signals that feedstock [costs] will go up and… demand [could] go up,” a major ABS producer said.
Supply remains balanced despite some producers running at reduced rates. A producer had planned to lower its production capacity to below its current level of 70%, but increased demand meant it has decided to keep levels as is.
Styron has announced the restart of its ABS train at Terneuzen, which should help availability of ABS if demand spikes in January.
($1 = €0.76)
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