Europe March SAN prices agreed at rollover to small drop

20 March 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

Players in the European styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) market have settled their March business. Sellers and buyers said on Thursday European prices were agreed at between a rollover and a reduction of €30/tonne versus February.

"The SAN market for March is not great, sales are meeting expectations but we haven’t seen an improvement in volumes since the start of the year, it’s flat," one European producer said. 

Buyers were seeking lower prices in March in recognition of reduced costs for one of the SAN feedstocks. In March, feedstock styrene contract price dropped €57/tonne.

SAN sellers were keen to maintain steady pricing to retrieve margins lost over the last year, however consumers said downstream demand has been flat and they do not expect a marked improvement in Q2. One major consumer said it was seeking a reduction of up to €50/tonne but settled for minus €30/tonne in March.

Buyers said they are still actively importing Asian material, which remains competitively priced versus European-origin product.

However, some buyers said the price gap between Asian and European material is narrowing.

Asian SAN prices hovered above acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices in the first quarter of this year, bucking the typical trend of SAN numbers trailing those of ABS, producers and traders in Asia said on Wednesday.

For Q2, a number of European SAN customers said that they expect to buy more material as demand in downstream applications is expected to improve.

By Renee Lawrence