2 April, 2018
Asian ABS prices retained their downward trend across regional markets moving into April. This was because the slight recovery of styrene prices stemming from firmer crude oil futures failed to offset the pressure of falling butadiene and ACN costs as well as subdued ABS demand. Spot styrene prices on a FOB Korea basis still remained around $150/ton under early March levels, the weekly average data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard revealed.
In China, some Far Eastern ABS producers, including Taiwanese and Korean, applied price drops between $50-90/ton on a weekly basis in the wake of slow activity and the lack of supply issues. Players concurred that demand has been subdued since the end of Chinese New Year holidays.
A trader noted, “Overall supplies are sufficient in China. We don’t think that the recent recovery in styrene will trigger buying interest for ABS in the near term due to the upcoming Tomb-Sweeping Day holiday.”
“If spot styrene extends its slight recovery into this week, this may curb additional price cuts in the ABS market. However, we don’t see a rebound likely any time soon since demand is not giving any signs of recovery for now,” a few players also opined
In Southeast Asia, an Indonesian producer concluded $80/ton lower import ABS deals in line with lower production costs. According to regional players, the slight gain in spot styrene did not have a visible impact on sentiment in the midst of thin buying appetite and bearish Chinese market.
Players in Turkey received April prices from various Korean producers with declines of $100/ton for natural and $70-100/ton for white and black grades. “We believe that ABS prices still have further room to go down considering their premium over HIPS offers and hesitant demand from buyers due to volatile parity,” a trader highlighted.