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European PS, ABS markets open 2022 on firm footing

by Merve Madakbaşı - mmadakbasi@chemorbis.com
  • 07/01/2022 (02:39)
Spot polystyrene (PS) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) markets in Europe opened the new year with hike requests from producers. The main factor propping up the markets was rising upstream costs. Previously, both PS and ABS prices moved within narrow ranges throughout November and December amid production hiccups and year-end lull.

Higher monomer contracts lend support to sellers

Although spot styrene prices witnessed some losses during January in the region, a triple-digit hike in the benzene settlement pushed new styrene contracts north earlier this week. Following suit, major European PS producers approached the market with hikes of €150-175/ton month over month.

ABS makers followed suit, as the notably higher styrene contracts mitigated the impact of the €50/ton lower butadiene contracts in the region. Accordingly, initial ABS injection and extrusion offers showed up with hikes of between €70-155/ton from different producers. A few buy ideas were voiced with €60-80/ton gains, meanwhile.

A source from a regional producer confirmed that they hiked their offers and said: "We lifted our prices in response to the styrene gain, which we attributed to the spiking benzene costs. Spot styrene and downstream markets have been supported by supply constraints amid some offline units and force majeures, while adding to the scene has been an energy crunch within the bloc."

Buyers yet to return from extended holidays

On the demand front, most consumers have yet to get back to their desks from the year-end break and a bank holiday on the 6th of January. A supplier commented, “Consumers who have stocks on hand may prefer to adopt a wait-and-see approach while post-Christmas orders have been mild so far. We expect to see a clearer picture of the market next week.”

A PS converter in Italy opined, “We expect to receive increases of €120-140/ton from our regular suppliers. Yet, we may skip January in terms of purchasing since we secured some volumes last month. It will depend on indications about the February outlook.” The buyer further said that their end product demand has been good recently.

Export offers to nearby Turkey rise, too

The upturn in Europe has also found a reflection in Turkey. Month over month, players reported receiving €140/ton higher PS offers, while initial ABS injection offers were €100/ton higher.

An agent of a European producer reported to ChemOrbis, "We have just revealed our fresh prices and we are yet to receive feedback from our customers. Overall, buying interest is not spectacular, but we have limited PS volumes." Some players believe that initial ABS prices may be trimmed later in the month, though.

Polystyrene is used in the industries of electronics, appliances, packaging, insulation, medical, and automotive. ABS is widely used in appliance housings, luggage, pipe fittings, white goods, and automotive interior parts.
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