European SAN February contract prices roll over

19 February 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) February contracts have rolled over, due to a balancing out in feedstock costs and increasing pressure from cheaper Asian imports, buyers and sellers confirmed on Tuesday.

Feedstock styrene contract prices dropped €40/tonne ($53/tonne) in February, whilst acrylonitrile (ACN), SAN’s other feedstock, rose €10/tonne in February.

Compounding grade SAN was assessed at €2,000-2,030/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), commercial grade at €2,240-2,380/tonne FD NWE and speciality grade at €2,470-3,200/tonne FD NWE according to ICIS.

Producers did have to make some downwards adjustments for individual customers, but insisted that this was for only one or two parties, and that the majority of the market accepted the rollovers.

Cheap Asian imports put additional pressure on European suppliers to keep prices stable. Prices from Asia were heard as low as €1,500/tonne cost insurance freight (CIF) west Europe.

“[Lower Asian prices are] due to lower demand in Asia. There is less market this week [following the Lunar New Year holiday from 9 - 15 February], and they are waiting for the coming weeks to see domestic demand increase”, a European producer said.

Cheaper Asian product is also making it harder for European suppliers to get a clear picture of demand levels.

“There is so much material coming in from Asia…we are having trouble keeping volumes up,” another European producer added.

Buyers, though, are satisfied with current demand levels.

“We are still doing OK in terms of demand,” a buyer said.

Thoughts are now turning to March, and whether a batch of planned styrene turnarounds will cause tightness in the downstream SAN market.

SAN is used in household and sanitary applications, office articles, cosmetic packaging, transparent covers, lighters, sanitary applications and battery housings.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Matt Tudball
+44 208 652 3214

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