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Asian ABS markets maintain downtrend as trade tensions weigh on demand

  • 03/09/2018 (09:39)
China’s and Southeast Asia’s ABS markets maintain their stable to softer trend moving into September. The main reason behind the weakness of ABS is cited as tepid demand in the midst of growing trade tensions between China and the US. Players continued to adopt a cautious stance in order to avoid the risks stemming from parity fluctuations.

Weekly average data from ChemOrbis Price Index suggest that, China’s local and import ABS markets have hit around a more-than-one-year low recently while Southeast Asia’s import ABS market has currently reached its lowest levels since early July.



A Chinese producer applied weekly decreases of CNY100-200/ton ($15-29/ton) on its local ABS offers last week. “Demand is slow as buyers are very hesitant about making fresh purchases,” a source from the company noted. A Chinese trader also reported that a Taiwanese producer lowered its ABS offers to the country by $10/ton from a week earlier.

A source from a different Taiwanese producer offering ABS to China and Southeast Asia commented, “Considering the current market conditions, bids that are $10/ton lower from our offer levels are acceptable for us. We expect demand to remain slow in the days ahead considering the escalating trade war.”

An Indonesian trader reported that their South Korean supplier cut their offers by $30/ton from the previous week. “Buyers mostly remain on a wait and see position given the uncertainty related to the trade war. We expect the ABS market to weaken further in the days ahead,” he noted.

Meanwhile, spot styrene prices in Asia witnessed a slight recovery towards the end of last week mainly with support from firmer crude oil futures. This factor may lend support to the sentiment across regional ABS markets, some players argued.
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