Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
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Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) markets are sensitive to trends in demand in automotive as well as multiple consumer goods sectors. Consequently, plant outages and disruption in raw material supply have a big impact on market movements and prices. With such high levels of volatility in play, ABS market participants need constant access to the most up-to-date news, prices, analytics and market activities. Confident and responsive decisions can only be made when you are on top of all the rapidly changing supply and demand factors driving movements. Comprehensive market intelligence and forecasts can enable you to make profitable decisions.
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Asia top stories – weekly summary
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 1 March 2024. Asian spot TiO2 market set to enjoy support in March By Joson Ng 01-Mar-24 13:11 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) Asian spot market is likely to see improving or stable demand in March, especially in China, as the traditional peak demand season kicks in. As producers in China are also citing a healthy number of orders on hand, they are not likely to allow cargoes to go unless the bids are close to their valuation. Korea’s S-Oil targets $2bn capex for Ulsan oil-to-chems project in '24 By Pearl Bantillo 29-Feb-24 12:31 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–South Korean refiner S-Oil has earmarked won (W) 2.72tr ($2bn) this year for its thermal crude-to-chemical (TC2C) project called Shaheen, representing 87% of the total capital expenditure (capex) set for 2024. VIDEO: China VAM market remains firm post-holiday on tighter spot supply By Joanne Wang 29-Feb-24 11:52 SINGAPORE (ICIS)– ICIS senior industry analyst Joanne Wang reviews the vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) market in China in early 2024 and shares a brief market outlook. Japan January inflation at 2.0%; end to negative interest rates in sight By Nurluqman Suratman 27-Feb-24 14:37 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's core consumer inflation in January rose by 2.0%, matching the Bank of Japan's (BoJ) price stability target and supporting expectations that the central bank will end its ultra-low interest rates policy by April. Asia oxo-alcohols find support in post-holiday market on tight supply By Julia Tan 26-Feb-24 12:49 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia’s spot oxo-alcohols import markets saw quiet trade in the post-holiday period, with limited buying interest from northeast Asian buyers as most opted to assume a wait-and-see stance. Buyers are generally only expected to begin procurement activity following the Lantern Festival, which took place on 24 February. Asia BD spot market buoyant with active China exports By Ai Teng Lim 23-Feb-24 10:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asian butadiene (BD) imports picked up this week as China embarked on active export sales.
AdvanSix petitions US to impose Superfund taxes on imports of nylon 6, capro
HOUSTON (ICIS)–AdvanSix has requested that the US impose Superfund taxes on imports of nylon 6 and caprolactam (capro). On Tuesday, AdvanSix did not immediately respond to a request for comment. AdvanSix proposed a tax rate of $14.77/ton. The next step is for the government to gather comments and consider requests for hearings about AdvanSix's request. The deadline to file comments or request hearings is 22 April. HOW THE SUPERFUND TAX WORKSThe US introduced the Superfund taxes in mid-2022 on taxable chemicals and imports of taxable substances. The proceeds raised by the taxes will help replenish the government's Superfund program, which pays for clean-up at waste sites. The Superfund tax regime divides materials into two groups. The first group is levied on the sale or use of 42 chemicals by producers or importers. Many of these chemicals are fundamental building blocks such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene (BD), benzene, toluene, xylene and methane. The second group is restricted to imports and covers substances that are sold or used in the US. This second batch of taxes applies to substances that contain at least 20% of the 42 taxable chemicals. In addition, the taxable rate would depend on the proportion of the 42 taxable chemicals contained in the substance. The request by AdvanSix falls under this second group. As part of its request AdvanSix filed two petitions asking the US to add nylon 6 and capro to its list of taxable substances. Thumbnail shows nylon Image by Shutterstock.
Asia top stories – weekly summary
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 23 February 2024. Asia BD spot market buoyant with active China exports By Ai Teng Lim 23-Feb-24 10:54 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Discussions for Asian butadiene (BD) imports picked up this week as China embarked on active export sales. SE Asia PE March offers firmer as tight Middle East supply persists By Izham Ahma 22-Feb-24 10:12 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Initial spot import offers for March polyethylene (PE) shipments in southeast Asia were announced firmer in the week ending 23 February, with many major Middle Eastern suppliers still showing limited spot volume available. Japan January chemical exports up 11%; overall shipments at record high By Nurluqman Suratman 21-Feb-24 13:20 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Japan's chemical shipments in January rose by 11.2% year on year to yen (Y) 865.9bn ($5.8bn), with overall exports hitting a record high for the month, thus, easing some concerns over Asia's highly industrialised economy which tipped into a technical recession in the second half of 2023. Asia petchem markets await China's demand signals after holiday By Nurluqman Suratman 19-Feb-24 13:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's petrochemical markets will closely watch China's demand signals after the Lunar New Year holiday amid ongoing concerns about the country’s economic health. PODCAST: Asian olefins to see support amid tighter supply, Panama congestion persists By Julia Tan 21-Feb-24 19:51 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's ethylene (C2) market saw supply tighten amid fewer volumes from the US in Q1 as a direct result of congestion at the Panama Canal.
Asia petchem markets await China's demand signals after holiday
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's petrochemical markets will closely watch China's demand signals after the Lunar New Year holiday amid ongoing concerns about the country’s economic health. Asia markets eye China's post-holiday demand signals China's economic health remains central concern Prices likely to rise amid supply constraints Markets in Asia took a breather in the week of 12-16 February, with Lunar New Year holidays in China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, while countries such as South Korea, Japan and Indonesia observed public holidays as well. Market participants are cautious about the post-holiday market; while some downstream buyers will restock after the holidays, there is concern that existing inventory held by domestic China producers and distributors will largely satisfy demand until early March. PRICES LIKELY TO RISE AMID SUPPLY CONSTRAINTSPetrochemical prices in Asia are expected to continue to increase in February, supported by capacity losses from outages and run-rate reductions, according to ICIS analysts. Among the 31 major petrochemical commodities covered by the ICIS Asia Price Forecast, average February prices for at least 22 of these commodities are anticipated to increase. Ethylene (C2), butadiene (BD) and styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) are expected to lead in terms of gains. In Asia’s C2 market, end-users who have yet to settle March arrival cargo are expected to hit the ground running once most of players return to the market this week. In the southeast Asia C2 market, demand enquiries were largely heard from Thailand last week, while other end-users in Indonesia have begun to look towards the April window for spot cargo. "The Asia C2 industry is likely to be characterised by tight supply in the weeks to come," said Paolo Scafetta, ICIS senior olefins analyst. "February should see about 7% of total monthly nameplate capacity lost due to downtime unless unplanned events cause further technical hiccups." The upstream naphtha market in Asia should be influenced by a few bearish factors, Scafetta added. These include the shift from naphtha to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as an alternative cracking feedstock and an improvement in supply from March as naphtha cargoes are expected to increase as Middle East refineries return from their maintenance. Asia's naphtha market is likely to be plagued with volatility in the short term as tensions in the Red Sea will continue to disrupt supplies. In Asia’s propylene (C3) market, trade was largely subdued during the Lunar New Year break but picked up towards the close of the week with most market players, except China, returning from their holiday. Talks and discussions in Taiwan commenced at the end of the week after the holidays ended. However, the post-holiday buying sentiment weakened on the back of ample supply, leading sellers to progressively lower their offers and selling indications. With buyers in China largely away from the market, overall business activity during the week was muted. In southeast Asia, while demand was also heard in Malaysia and Indonesia, most buyers continued to hold back from purchases on the expectation that supply tightness might result in an easing in offers down the road. In Asia’s benzene market, post-holiday restocking is expected to pick up in the second half of February amid strong competition for April and May cargoes from global players. February and March benzene cargoes have been already sold out and April cargoes are in strong demand. Benzene buyers based in both Asia and the West had actively sought procurement since end-January, for pre-holiday and pre-summer stocking up respectively. Asia's acetone market looks poised to maintain its strength. This is due to the high prices of benzene, reduced production leading to tighter supply, and a resurgence in trading flows between Asia and the West. A significant increase in demand for Asia acetone from the US market is bolstering this trend. Limited supply in the US, a result of low phenol production and ongoing allocations, is driving this demand. Meanwhile, supply within Asia is also constrained as phenol/acetone producers scale back production in response to unprofitable margins and decreased demand for phenol in China. In the xylene markets, further support in the market will be dependent on downstream sectors after the Lunar New Year holidays, with eyes firmly on China. For paraxylene (PX), there remains optimism for gasoline-blending demand heading into the second quarter, with positive arbitrage window economics for exports to the West. Firm upstream naphtha prices have also provided some support for PX. Several market participants noted there had been pre-buying of mixed xylenes (MX) and toluene by gasoline blenders to the US. Demand and price developments in the downstream purified terephthalic acid (PTA) and polyester sectors will help provide clarity about whether high PX costs can be absorbed down the chain. Asia's butyl acetate (butac) and ethyl acetate (etac) markets are poised to stay afloat on anticipated post-holiday demand, albeit at a gradual pace. Sellers of butac in both China and the region largely maintained their spot offers for March loading prior to the Lunar New Year holiday. Spot butac prices were on a downtrend in the early part of the fourth quarter of 2023 and have climbed since December, in part driven by cost pressures upstream as suppliers worked towards mitigating compressed margins. Asia’s methylene chloride (MEC) market might be bullish after the Lunar New Year holiday, as rising demand is likely to shift the market to a more balanced state. Most buyers were in a wait-and-see mode, monitoring prices and observing what producers would offer after the Lunar New Year break, with market participants in southeast Asia eyeing a rebound in demand through Q2, around the Ramadan period. CHINA'S ECONOMIC HEALTH IN FOCUS ICIS analysts expect most of China's end-use consumption, including in industries such as agriculture and home appliances, to recover from March. The China government's Two Sessions policy meetings, widely seen as the most important political meeting of the year for the country, will be held on 4-11 March. ICIS analysts expect another series of policies to be introduced to stimulate economic growth. Further market and infrastructure investment can boost petrochemicals demand. Latest official data from China is pointing to some recovery from domestic tourism trips and revenues. Domestic tourism trips and revenues during the Lunar New Year holidays in China jumped by 34.3% and 47.3% year on year respectively, with their levels at 19.0% and 7.7% above pre-pandemic levels in 2019, data from the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) shows. "Most official and private media channels have been reporting strong (or even exceptionally strong) Lunar New Year holiday consumption data, and markets risk getting caught up in the euphoria of the moment, under the supposition that China’s economy is suddenly bottoming out, driven by the Chinese people’s hidden passion for spending," research analysts from Japan's Nomura Global Markets Research said in a note. "Although we do see some strength in the data, we urge market participants to exercise caution," it said, adding that China's property sector continued its downward spiral, right before the Lunar New Year holiday, and there was no sign of a recovery during the holiday. "Despite the positive [Lunar New Year] data, we maintain our view that the ongoing economic dip is likely to worsen into the spring," Nomura said. With additional reporting by Josh Quah, Julia Tan, Seng Li Peng, Angeline Soh, Helen Lee, Keven Zhang, Melanie Wee and Samuel Wong Focus article by Nurluqman Suratman Thumbnail photo: Lunar New Year lanterns in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, on 1 February 2021. Asia will closely watch China's demand signals after the Lunar New Year holiday amid concerns about the country’s economic health. (Source: Xinhua/Shutterstock)
India’s Styrenix plans ABS, PS capacity expansions in Gujarat
MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s Styrenix Performance Materials (SPM) expects to begin operations at its expanded acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polystyrene (PS) capacities at Dahej and Nandesari in the western Gujarat state before 2028, a company source said on Friday. SPM plans to invest Rs6.5bn ($78m) on the expansion projects. Its ABS capacity will grow to 210,000 tonnes/year over the next four years, from 85,000 tonnes/year currently; while its PS capacity will be raised to 150,000 tonnes/year over the next three years from the current 66,000 tonnes/year, based on the plan released in October 2023. Funding the brownfield expansions will be through a mix of internal accruals and debt, SPM said. “The expansion will be done in a phased manner and capacity will be increased gradually over the next few years,” the company source said. The expansion of production capacities will help SPM meet increasing domestic demand for ABS and PS, he sai. “We expect to see robust growth in in our existing markets like automobiles, household appliances, medical devices, electronics, [among others],” the source said. SPM is formerly known as INEOS Styrolution India. It was renamed in January 2023 after INEOS Styrolution sold its entire stake in the company to Shiva Performance Material in August 2022. ($1 = Rs83)
India’s HPCL eyes Jan 2025 start-up for 9m tonne/year Rajasthan refinery
MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) expects to begin commercial operations at its greenfield 9m tonnes/year refinery at Barmer in the western Rajasthan state by January 2025, a senior company official said on Wednesday. “Once the refinery comes on stream, the petrochemical plants at the complex will be commissioned in a phased manner in around three months,” the official said. The refinery and petrochemical complex which is being built at a cost of nearly Indian rupee (Rs) 730bn ($8.8bn), has achieved nearly 80% mechanical completion and is expected to cater to increasing demand in north India, he added. The refinery will initially operate at around 80% of capacity, with full capacity utilisation expected by 2027, he said. Once operational, the petrochemical complex will have a polypropylene (PP) unit with two 490,000 tonne/year lines; and a linear low density polyethylene/high density polyethylene (LLDPE/HDPE) swing plant with two 416,000 tonnes/year lines. The complex will also produce 240,000 tonnes/year of butadiene (BD). The project has faced delays and cost escalation since work on the project started in 2018. It is being developed by HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited (HRRL), a 74:26 joint venture between Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) and the Rajasthan state government. ($1= Rs83.1)
Asia top stories – weekly summary
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Here are the top stories from ICIS News Asia and the Middle East for the week ended 9 February 2024. India methanol gains on lower Iran volumes amid plant outagesBy Keven Zhang 09-Feb-24 14:38 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Indian methanol spot market continued to be driven by supply outages in Iran, with a trade concluded higher than the previous week. INSIGHT: Asia benzene remains profitable supported by demand in 2024 By Jenny Yi 08-Feb-24 22:27 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia benzene supply growth will moderate in 2024 compared with last year, which saw the the peak of the latest capacity expansion cycle. The downstream market still maintains rapid capacity growth, however, which exceeds the supply growth rate of benzene. Asia adipic acid struggles to keep up with cost pressure ahead of holidays By Josh Quah 08-Feb-24 13:44 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Adipic acid (ADA) prices in Asia have been on a general upward trend since around mid-December 2023 for China-origin cargoes. INSIGHT: Asia ABS supply length will intensify amid China expansions By May Hu 08-Feb-24 10:00 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) capacity growth in Asia peaked in 2023 and will be sustained in 2024 on massive new capacities coming on stream in China. China petrochemical demand may stay muted post-holiday By Yvonne Shi 07-Feb-24 15:09 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Low market confidence has kept petrochemical restocking in China tepid before the Lunar New Year holiday, with players refraining from building up inventory given uncertain demand recovery in March. China Jan petrochemical markets gain on restocking; Feb holidays to hit demand By Yvonne Shi 06-Feb-24 14:58 SINGAPORE(ICIS)–China’s domestic petrochemical markets gained in end-January on the back firm crude prices and some restocking ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, with demand in February likely to weaken. Asia titanium dioxide spot market may be fuelled by bullish sentiment By Joson Ng 05-Feb-24 16:56 SINGAPORE (ICIS)–The titanium dioxide (TiO2) spot market in Asia is likely to see supply factors driving the market in February. India hikes infrastructure capex for fourth year; Rs11.1tr set for 2024-25 By Priya Jestin 05-Feb-24 14:49 MUMBAI (ICIS)–India’s government has announced plans to increase its capital expenditure on infrastructure projects to rupees (Rs) 11.1trn ($134bn) in its interim budget for 2024-2025, up 11% from the previous fiscal year, boosting the funds available for the sector for the fourth consecutive year.
US Trinseo expects another net loss in Q1, may take more actions
HOUSTON (ICIS)–Trinseo expects another quarterly net loss in the first quarter after reporting one on Monday for its fourth-quarter results. The company has already shutdown some manufacturing capacity, and the company will continue to assess whether it should do more to "increase our manufacturing network flexibility", said Frank Bozich, CEO. Any such actions would allow the company to take advantage of cost differences among different regions while also improving profitability, lowering capital expenditures and optimizing working capital, Bozich said. At the same time, the moves would allow Trinseo to continue investing in higher-value products as well as sustainable ones. The following table compares the company's Q1 guidance to its Q4 and Q1 performance during 2023. Figures are in millions of dollars. Q1 '24 Q4 '23 Q1 '23 Net loss from continuing operations 77-67 265 49 Adjusted EBITDA 40-50 20 36 Source: Trinseo “The unprecedented drop in demand we saw starting in the third quarter of 2022 has persisted, and a great deal of macroeconomic uncertainty remains," Bozich said. “We are seeing stronger order loads to begin the year following the challenges we faced in the fourth quarter, and therefore, we expect significantly higher sequential profitability in the first quarter of 2024," he said. However, the first quarter should be the one with the lowest profitability because volumes are typically lower during that time of the year and because of plant turnaounds, Trinseo said. Also, the timing of newly awarded business will contribute to lower profitability. For all of 2024, Trinseo expects a similar constrained demand environment to 2023. Shares of Trinseo rose by 1.63% in afterhours trading. Q4 PERFORMANCEThe following table shows Trinseo's Q4 performance. Figures are in millions of dollars. Q4 23 Q4 22 % Change Net sales 837.5 975.2 -14.1% Cost of sales 817.2 978.4 -16.5% Gross profit 20.3 -3.2 – Net loss * 265.0 364.3 -27.3% Adjusted EBITDA 20.2 6.3 – *from continuing operations Source: Trinseo Trinseo makes styrenics and engineered materials. Thumbnail shows spoons made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), one of the resins made by Trinseo. Image by ICIS.
PODCAST: Asia benzene lifted by higher oil prices, pre-holiday restocking
SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Asia's benzene prices trended upwards because of crude gains as well some pre-Lunar New Year restocking. Downstream styrene (SM) producers however, struggled with higher costs and low demand from sectors such as polystyrene (PS), expandable polystyrene (EPS) and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS). In this chemical podcast, ICIS editors Angeline Soh and Luffy Wu discuss recent market conditions with an outlook ahead in Asia. Benzene Feb cargoes sold out from pre-LNY stocking up, US demand as plants shut from winter storm Demand for March cargoes buoyed; buyers beyond Asia worried about tightened supply with upcoming derivative additions in China Asian styrene market players struggling with high costs but low demand Regional styrene exporters eyeing long-haul opportunities to Europe
General Motors, China’s BYD to invest over $2.0bn in EVs at Brazilian facilities
SAO PAULO (ICIS)–General Motors is to invest Brazilian reais (R) 7.0bn ($1.4bn) in 2024-2028 at its facilities in the country to implement a “complete renewal” of its vehicle portfolio focusing on production of electric vehicles (EVs), the US automotive major said this week. Meanwhile, China’s EV major BYD also announced this week it would invest R3.0bn at its facilities in Camacari, in the state of Bahia. The company purchased the plant from Ford in 2023. The Brazilian government approved at the end of 2023 the so-called Mover program, which envisages tax breaks and incentives for greener mobility. Both GM and BYD’s announcements were made after weeks of talks with the government, although details of the agreements signed have not yet been made public. The automotive boost this week will have been music to the ears of both automotive executives in Brazil and the government presided by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in office since January 2023. For the former, the announcements could be a catalyst for further growth in EVs, a sector in which Brazilian producers are lagging versus other big producing countries. In the past decade, those executives have presided over a sharp fall in output, down the peak of nearly 3.5m units/year in the early 2010s to just over 2.3m units produced in 2023. Brazil’s automotive exporting prowess to the rest of Latin America has dwindled on the back of fierce competition from overseas producers, mainly Chinese. For the government, the announcements will be a relief after the Lula Administration has struggled to show any sign of a revival in manufacturing, a key promise to its core electorate. Manufacturing stayed in contraction territory for most of 2023. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made sure this week to capitalize on both announcements, which were made in Brasilia’s Planalto presidential palace. Earlier in the week, he also presented a 10-year industrial policy plan envisaging incentives for green investments to the tune of R300bn. The Mover program is part of that plan. TURNAROUNDIn GM’s case, the announcement this week is a remarkable turn of events after the company and some of its workers in Brazil were involved in a legal dispute after GM implemented 1,200 redundancies without prior consultation with trade unions. A judge disregarded the redundancies and ordered GM to rehire all workers. GM is a key automotive producer in Brazil. The company operates three production facilities in the state of Sao Paulo: Sao Jose de Campos, Sao Caetano do Sul, and Mogi das Cruzes. The company said the investments would also include research and development (R&D) of “innovative and customized” products for the Brazilian market as well as the “creation of new” businesses. “The factories will also receive developments that will make them even more modern, agile, and sustainable,” said GM. A large part of Brazil’s current vehicle fleet can also run on biodiesel, an element which has greatly helped reduced the country’s emissions from the transport sector but has also made producers rest in their laurels in terms of EV production. “Brazil is strategic for GM’s global business expansion plan. In addition to being a vehicle export hub for South America, it has a large engineering development center and is a market with high growth potential with a vocation for new technology vehicles, in line with the predominantly clean energy matrix of the country,” said Shilpan Amin, president of GM International. The official announcement from GM did not mention EVs but used the wording “sustainable mobility” instead. However, in the ceremony where the investments were announced GM’s vice president for South America, Fabio Rua, said: “Our investments in Brazil are focused on sustainability. Our future is all electric,” as quoted by Bloomberg. The automotive industry is a major global consumer of petrochemicals, and chemicals make up more than one-third of the raw material costs for an average vehicle. The automotive sector drives demand for chemicals such as polypropylene (PP), along with nylon, polystyrene (PS), styrene butadiene rubber (SBR), polyurethane (PU), methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), among others. ($1 = R4.91) Focus article by Jonathan Lopez
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