Asia's ABS trade expected to remain quiet post-China holidays

Author: Clive Ong


SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) demand in the fourth quarter – a traditionally slower period for the resin – is softening as the third-quarter manufacturing for exports season is over in key market China.

(Source: Photo by Yu Fangping/Pacific Press Via Zuma Wire/Shutterstock)

Producers remained focused on securing adequate margins for their resins. While margins have improved in recent weeks, they remained below expectations.

Feedstock costs remained elevated, which has continued to pressurize margins of suppliers.

“Most sellers continued to aim for larger profits at above the break-even point,” said a producer in Taiwan.

Participants in China have returned from their week-long National Day holidays from 1-7 October, but trade in the Asian ABS market remained quiet.

Spot prices in China remained in the $1,400s/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China range, with buyers largely in a wait-and-see mode.

The ongoing trade tensions between the US and China continued to cast a pall over the ABS business.

Uncertainty remained elevated as the previous rounds of trade talks have not yielded much result, while another round of talks is to begin on 10 October.

Tariffs have been imposed by the US on made-in-China appliances and consumer electronics, which use ABS in their production.

“Uncertainty is high and therefore buyers are cautious,” said a trader in China.

ABS is the largest volume engineering thermoplastic resin and is used in automobiles, electronics, appliances and recreational products.

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Focus article by Clive Ong