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Skyrocketing butadiene costs continue to support ABS in Asia, Europe

  • 11/01/2017 (04:24)
Spot butadiene costs have been on a bullish run for more than a month both in Asia and Europe. This rally considerably pulled up the ABS market in Asia in December although the market has stabilized recently. An opposite situation has been in place in Europe, where the ABS market was mostly indifferent to butadiene’s rally in December but has soared in January.

In Asia, spot butadiene prices have posted an approximate increase of $300/ton in the first ten days of January while the size of the overall increases recorded since early December is more considerable at $1040/ton for offers on FOB South Korea basis.

This increase in butadiene costs found a reflection on ABS prices in Asia last month as ChemOrbis Price Index reveals an increase of $370/ton on average for China’s import market. Although butadiene continues to soar in January, the ABS market has mostly followed a stable trend in the past few weeks.
Chinese players widely concur that surging costs are counterbalanced by thin demand. “Although buyers’ expectations for downward corrections are voiced, ABS prices are still supported by the rally in butadiene costs. Therefore, any decrease is not justified at the moment,” said a Taiwanese producer.

In Europe, meanwhile, spot butadiene prices posted a hefty increase of €200/ton so far in January. The increase seen since early December was more significant at €810/ton. The news that Evonik will shut two of its butadiene units also exacerbated the current tightness for this product.

The spot ABS market in Italy, however, was mostly unresponsive to the gains in the upstream market in December, although it reacted to it in January by rising more than €250/ton, according to ChemOrbis Price Index.

The current ABS market levels both in China and Italy represent the highest levels not seen in more than a year, according to ChemOrbis Price Index.