Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Prices, markets & analysis
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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Overview Transcript
The Asian ABS market is the fastest growing among the stryrenic resins. This is mainly due to them being used in many applications.
Common useage for ABS include sectors such as automobiles, consumer electronics, office equipment, personal computers, toys and construction.
ABS can be fused with other plastics to form alloys. This further extends the useage of the resin in other sectors such as mobile phone casings which use PC/ABS alloy.
China is the largest importer and user of the resin in Asia given its huge manufacturing base.
The spot market is active and liquid with major sellers from Taiwan, Korea, and South East Asia competing for a piece of the action each week China continues to expand its domestic ABS capacity each year, but demand always increases in tandem, resulting in the continual need for large volume imports.
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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene: Market overview
Demand in the Asia ABS market was lacklustre in the second quarter of 2013, with no improvement despite the start of the Chinese exports manufacturing season. Demand is low because of weak exports to the US and Europe. The slowing Chinese economy further curbed consumption. The average operating rate of ABS units in China remained less than 65% in July, way below the usual 75-85% during the manufacturing peak each year.
US ABS demand has primarily been driven by the automotive market, which is expected to produce about 16m cars and light trucks in 2013, its best year since 2007. The housing sector, which is still recovering from the economic crisis, has also seen improved demand. However, prices are flat because of ample supply. Prices have also been kept in check by lower feedstock costs, especially butadiene.
Raw material costs have driven European ABS prices throughout 2013. Two large consecutive reductions in feedstock butadiene (BD) in July and August have put pressure on suppliers to lower ABS prices in the third quarter. Demand has been satisfactory for most players, though the market is over-supplied. The poor economic environment is also affecting consumer consumption.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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About Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) is the largest-volume engineering resin. Its biggest use is in the automotive industry, followed by the electronics sector. Other applications include domestic appliances, pipes, fittings and other construction products, and recreational items such as boats and mobile homes.
ABS is also blended with other polymers such as polycarbonate or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for injection moulding applications.
An amorphous thermoplastic blend, ABS is available in a range of compositions and properties, depending on the ratio of monomer feedstocks (15-35% acrylonitrile, 5-30% butadiene and 40-60% styrene), to give a large number of grades and applications.
Due to its flexibility of composition and structure, ABS can exhibit a wide range of properties, allowing its use in diverse applications. ABS resins are composed of over 50% styrene and varying amounts of butadiene and acrylonitrile (ACN). Styrene provides rigidity and ease of processing, ACN offers chemical resistance and heat stability, and butadiene gives toughness and impact strength.