Europe ABS March contract prices up €30-40/tonne

22 March 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) March contracts have settled at an increase of €30-40/tonne, buyers and sellers confirmed on Friday.

Compounding grade (natural) was at €2,235-2,295/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), injection moulding (natural) at €2,325-2,400/tonne FD NWE and extrusion grade (natural) at €2,250-2,400/tonne FD NWE, according to ICIS.

Producers had targeted higher increases of up to €60/tonne for March business, but buyers argued that flat demand in the European market – caused by the prevailing weak economic environment – only warranted hikes representing the feedstock cost pass-through.

In March, the feedstock styrene contract price settled €27/tonne up, while butadiene (BD) and acrylonitrile (ACN) settled at increases of €50/tonne and €45-55/tonne respectively.

Lower prices from some ABS producers forced other suppliers to drop their prices, squeezing margins.

There were some differing opinions on demand, with some seeing a drop-off in levels compared to previous weeks as players were waiting for April raw material price negotiations to begin.

“Deals are done, prices are settled,” a producer said. “The only change is a bit of a slowdown in order intake due to price expectation for the coming month.”

Others saw a different picture, blaming flat demand on the economy.

“[Our] order intake has reduced from where it was a few weeks ago,” a buyer said. "No one is holding off [for April prices], [it's] just a sign of real demand at the moment.”

The majority of market participants believe feedstock costs are likely to drop in April as a result of softening prices in the upstream market.

ABS has a variety of uses in the automotive, construction and household goods markets, among others.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Matt Tudball
+44 208 652 3214

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