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Updated to Q1 2017
European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) prices rose significantly during the first quarter of the year on the back of rising raw material costs, strong demand and limited availability. The feedstock styrene barge contract recorded five consecutive increases from December 2016 onwards bringing ABS prices to record high levels. Spot styrene prices began to soften only in March creating expectations for a possible decrease in the barge contract in April. The ABS market experienced a similar situation in 2015. There was a styrene increase in December that year and then an astronomical hike in February; the problem is that prices never come down as quickly as they go up, sources said. Especially for business in the UK, the problem for ABS prices is not only the feedstock increases, but also the currency differential. Availability was an issue for the market especially in February and March as the flow of Asian imports was significantly reduced and customers got a bit concerned about securing their volumes.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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