Europe ABS February contract price rollovers likely

14 February 2013 17:04  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) February contract price negotiations are ongoing, but indications suggest prices are likely to rollover, sources said on Thursday.

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)

By: Matt Tudball
+44 208 652 3214

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