FocusSAN, ABS demand could improve in 2014 - market

23 October 2013 16:02  [Source: ICIS news]

By Matt Tudball

DUSSELDORF, Germany (ICIS)--There has beed a definite sense of optimism - albeit with an the ever-present prefix of ‘cautious’ - amongst acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) market participants on the sidelines of the three-yearly K Fair in Dusseldorf this week.

ABS and SAN producers said 2013 had seen similar demand levels to those in 2012, but there was an increasing sentiment of optimism in the markets, linked in part to more positive-sounding news on the European economy.

In September, London-headquartered analyst Markit reported a flash eurozone purchasing managers' index (PMI) composite output figure which indicated the Eurozone economic recovery was gathering pace.

The European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator (ESI) also showed further improvement in September, both for the eurozone and the EU.

September saw disappointing volumes for many ABS and SAN market participants because of limited buying activity in the usually strong post-holiday month.

Volatile naphtha prices in September were preceded by record-high spot styrene numbers in August, causing many ABS and SAN buyers to act with caution and limit purchasing activity.

Some SAN producers have also not seen the levels of orders they were hoping for in October because buyers are still trying to utilise stocks rather than buy more product.

ABS and SAN sources at K Fair said they expect demand to drop off with the traditional year-end lull in the fourth quarter, but expected 2014 to have some improvement on 2013 demand levels.

“Most markets are upbeat,” a producer at K Fair said, adding that there are few markets it saw with a downbeat message for next year.

A second SAN producer said it saw a “better possibility for growth” in 2014, in markets such as household appliances and the pharmaceutical industry, though the latter would be more for speciality materials rather than commodity grades.

By: Matt Tudball
+44 208 652 3214

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