Price and market trends: Europe SAN prices rises €15-20/tonne in April

02 May 2014 10:06 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

Prices in the European styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) market have increased an average of €15-20/tonne in April because of higher feedstock styrene and acrylonitrile (ACN) costs, buyers and sellers confirmed on 24 April.

Some SAN producers had targeted higher increases for April in an attempt to improve margins, which have been squeezed for some time in the European market.

One producer said it had achieved an increase of €15-20/tonne for April, adding that it did not settle any April business at an increase of less than €15/tonne.

A second producer said it was firm in its discussions with buyers and settled the majority of its business at an increase of €20/tonne, and was able to achieve larger increases in some cases. The producer saw a pick up in demand in the second half of April, encouraging it to push for an rise of €20/tonne.

“We concluded [our April discussions] on plus €15/tonne,” a buyer said. Some buyers achieved smaller increases, either because they were starting negotiations from a higher price, or because they were able to source cheaper material from Asia.

“I didn’t pay [an increase in April] because I didn’t buy in the end,” a distributor said. It said it bought before April, building inventory “and also had some containers coming from Asia”. The distributor said that one South Korean producer in particular was being aggressive in its SAN and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices in April, offering cheaper parcels compared to European producers.

The April feedstock styrene contract increased €15/tonne, and the ACN contract rose €25-29/tonne because of higher feedstock costs.

Producers saw good demand levels in line with expectations for April, though agreed demand was slightly lower than March, as expected, due to the Easter holidays.

Views on April demand among European consumers were mixed. Some said demand was not at a good level, and volumes had been disappointing. Others, by contrast, said April levels were better than forecast, despite the shorter working month.

By Matt Tudball