19 February 2013 08:02 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices in Asia crossed the $2,050/tonne (€1,538/tonne) levels on Tuesday, with the return of market players from China after a week-long absence, traders said.
Sellers are hoping prices would increase to $2,100/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia level in the near-term given the continued spike in values of major feedstocks – styrene monomer (SM) and butadiene (BD).
SM prices are currently trading near record high levels of mid- to high-$1,700/tonne CFR China, while BD values were quoted at above $2,000/tonne CFR NE Asia, traders said.
“ABS prices will have to get above $2,100/tonne in order for manufacturers to break even,” said a producer in Taiwan.
Higher ABS prices, however, are mostly cost-driven as demand in the region has remained lacklustre, market sources said.
“The Chinese exports sector has been in the doldrums since the third quarter of last year and demand of ABS has also been poor,” said a Korean producer.
With the US and eurozone economies showing less than convincing recovery, Asian exports of finished goods have yet to pick up and could remain lacklustre in the first half of the year.
Some market players, however, said that some buying interest is expected to emerge in March as end-users are due to replenish stocks in preparation for the traditional ramping up of production in the second quarter, they said.
The key Chinese market was on holiday on 9-15 February for the Lunar New Year celebration.
“The market has just re-opened, so we might have to wait till next week to see if buyers are willing to accept higher prices”, said trader in Hong Kong.
ABS resins is used to make appliances, toys, consumer electronics as well as being used in the automotive and construction sectors.
Major ABS makers in Asia include Chimei Corp and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp of Taiwan, LG Chem and Cheil Samsung of Korea.
($1 = €0.75)
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