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 Q4 2019
Supply was slightly constrained with plants in South Korea and southeast Asia undergoing turnarounds. Otherwise, output at regional plants was mostly at normal levels, although some suppliers were said to have scaled back output in view of tepid demand. Deep-sea lots remained limited in the fourth quarter as availability in the region remained adequate.
Demand tapered off in the fourth quarter, with the third-quarter season for manufacturing for exports largely over by October. The ongoing trade war further dampened buying interest with tariffs imposed on appliances made in China. Most producers of finished goods for exports completed their production in November with resin demand staying flat.
European acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) supply was ample in Q4, due to low demand in the main downstream automotive sector leaving more material available, regardless of output rates typically reduced ahead of the Christmas holiday period. Upstream production issues did not impact downstream ABS supply. Imports remained competitive from Asia, but lowered in the weeks ahead of the Christmas holiday period due to logistics issues.
European ABS demand remained weak across Q4 2019, particularly in the main downstream automotive sector, but also stable to lower across electronic appliances and consumer products. Additionally, general buying interest dropped further ahead of the quiet Christmas holiday period due to players maintaining low inventory levels and destocking towards the end of the year.
Supply of US acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) was stable-to-long in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter, as most upstream styrene plants were running and there were no unplanned outages. Shell took its styrene plant in Scotford, Alberta, Canada down for planned maintenance in late September but the outage did not affect supply as the company has supply agreements with other producers to fulfil its commitments. There was little to no effect on the market from an upstream butadiene (BD) explosion in Texas.
Domestic demand for ABS was stable-to-soft in the fourth quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter, as lagging auto sales and the ongoing US-China trade war continued to weigh on the market. ABS is the largest volume engineering thermoplastic resin and is used in automobiles, electronics, appliances and recreational products. Demand weakness was also seen across the electronics sector, specifically for smart phones and personal computers, and from a global manufacturing slowdown.
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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.