14 February 2013 17:04 [Source: ICIS news]
Some producers had initially targeted increases of up to €30/tonne ($40/tonne) in an attempt to strengthen squeezed margins, but drops in feedstock styrene, underwhelming levels of demand, and competitively-priced Asian imports have forced suppliers to revise their initial targets down.
The €40/tonne drop in the February feedstock styrene contract price has been balanced out by a rollover in the February contract butadiene (BD) price, and a possible €5-10/tonne rise in the February acrylonitrile (ACN) contract.
Demand has not picked up to the levels that some market participants had hoped.
“Demand is on track with 2012 [levels], slightly off in January, [and] February is too early to say,” a buyer of extrusion grade material said on Thursday.
“Demand is not super strong, not super weak,” a producer said, summing up how the majority of market participants feel about current ABS demand levels.
Asian-produced material is also putting pressure on European producers to keep prices down. Despite Asian prices increasing by approximately €80/tonne in recent weeks, Asian product still remains attractive to European buyers.
A buyer said on Thursday it had been offered injection moulding grade ABS at €1,700/tonne free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) from a South Korean producer.
Negotiations are ongoing, and January ABS prices remain at €2,195-2,265/tonne FD NWE for compounding grade, €2,285-2,370/tonne FD NWE for injection moulding (natural) and €2,210-2,370/tonne FD NWE for extrusion grade (natural), according to ICIS.
($1 = €0.74)
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