Weekly Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) reports are published in Asia, China, Europe and the US.
Asia and China cover spot prices for one grade in different regions, while US and Europe report domestic prices for different grades. All contain independent market news and analysis gathered by our locally based reporters. Content includes overviews, production news, upstream information and import movements, when applicable. These reports are an essential tool to help you make confident commercial decisions.
Updated to Q2 2020
Overall, the operating rates of factories were stable, with few outages or turnarounds reported. However, supply was short in the northeast Asia market when end-users and traders rushed to restock their inventories. This is because end-users and traders had previously been hesitant to stock up during the outbreak of the coronavirus, as there was uncertainty in the market amid a global imposition of lockdowns. Supply was stable for the southeast and south Asia regions.
Demand was mixed in different parts of Asia. For southeast and south Asia, demand was lower as lockdowns were implemented across the region to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Demand also continued to be poor despite the lifting of some lockdowns as end-users relied on pre-existing inventories instead of purchasing more ABS. However, in northeast Asia demand was cushioned by a recovering Chinese economy, particularly in sectors such as household appliances.
ABS supply in Q2 was ample due to ongoing low buying interest across downstream sectors. Many players maintained high stock levels as a result. There were no production or logistics issues heard to impact the ABS market throughout Q2. There were fewer imports from Asia across Q2 due to lengthy delivery times, less competition and low demand.
ABS demand in Q2 remained weak across the downstream sectors including automotive, electronics, household appliances and furniture. This was mostly driven by the coronavirus impact on buying interest. Towards the end of Q2, some signs of a recovery were mentioned. However, the market was still weak.
ABS supply was stable at normal levels as there were no scheduled turnarounds. Trinseo had an unplanned outage at its 95,000 tonne/year plant in Midland, Michigan, because of flooding from heavy rains and a dam break that lasted five days. Feedstock supply was readily available even though INEOS Styrolution kept its 455,000 tonne/year styrene plant in Texas City, Texas down after a planned turnaround that began in March. It restarted on 30 June.
ABS demand fell from Q1 as economies shut down amid efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Most auto production in North America was halted in March after an autoworker contracted the virus. About 14% of global ABS demand comes from auto production, which restarted in mid-May. There were pockets of demand from the medical devices sector associated with the coronavirus, but they were not enough to offset the loss of demand from autos.
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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.