19 March 2013 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
Feedstock styrene contract prices rose €27/tonne in March, while acrylonitrile (ACN), SAN’s other feedstock, increased by €45-55/tonne for March contract business.
Compounding grade SAN was assessed at €2,030-2,050/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), commercial grade at €2,270-2,400/tonne FD NWE and speciality grade at €2,500-3,220/tonne FD NWE, according to ICIS.
Some producers had initially wanted a higher increase in order to strengthen margins, but buyers did not want to accept more than the feedstock cost pass-through because of flat demand.
"We have covered our costs with the increase we got this month,’’ one European supplier said. "We don’t expect a major improvement in demand in Q2 but we expect sales to meet expectations as the SAN market isn’t impacted greatly by economic uncertainty."
The majority of market participants said demand has been stable for most of 2013 so far, though some on the buy side have seen a slight drop in March levels compared with previous months. Ongoing macroeconomic weakness is widely seen as the reason for a lack of end-use market purchasing confidence, bringing demand levels down.
However, at least one producer and one distributor saw slightly better levels of demand in recent weeks. Both were unable to pinpoint the reason for increased sales, but the distributor said it may just be coincidence as buyers with low stock levels return to the market at the same time to replenish inventories.
SAN is used in household and sanitary applications, office articles, cosmetic packaging, transparent covers, lighters, sanitary applications and battery housings.
($1 = €0.77)
Written by Renee Lawrence
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