Producers target €40/tonne Europe February SAN increase

04 February 2014 17:35 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Buyers in the European styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) market will resist producers’ targets of increases up to €40/tonne because of soft demand in a shorter working month, sources said on Tuesday.

A European producer is looking to increase its February prices by €40/tonne, higher than the raw material styrene cost pass-through.

The producer is targeting higher prices because it expects good demand from January in its compounding and distribution sectors to carry on into February, for both injection moulding and compounding grades. It hopes to strengthen its margins following a weak 2013.

A second SAN producer is aiming to increase prices in line with feedstock costs.

“On compounding grades we try to pass on the increase on raw materials, just a small increase,” the producer said.

“We don't think demand is that good for compounding grades, so if we were to increase by even €20/tonne, we would probably lose sales,” the producer added.

However, SAN buyers said they are against increases in February because of the relatively small €17/tonne rise in the February styrene contract price.

“Since it [the styrene increase] is so small I will aim for a roll over,” a buyer said of its ideas for February SAN prices.

Distributors are concerned they will not be able to pass on increases in the raw material costs to their end-user customers.

“Not a chance [of an increase above styrene costs] in this market,” a distributor said of the intended €40/tonne increase, adding that there may be parcels of Asian material ordered in December due to arrive in Europe in the coming weeks.

Cheaper Asian SAN could provide an alternative supply of material for European buyers not willing to pay higher prices in February.

“[European] producers want [February prices] to go up and there's no room for movement,” a second distributor said, adding that February is a shorter working month, and demand is not expected to pick up.

The February styrene contract price rose €17/tonne from January, and acrylonitrile (ACN) will likely remain stable because the February propylene feedstock contract price was a rollover.

By Matt Tudball