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Rising momentum fizzles out in European PS, ABS markets

by Esra Ersöz -
  • 13/05/2019 (04:07)
PS and ABS markets in Europe have faced their fourth consecutive month of hikes, mostly prompted up by feedstock costs. Nevertheless, the upward momentum appears to have lost steam this month as sellers are widely stepping back from their initial hike targets.

Styrene hike not reflected on PS

In the PS market, Ineos Styrolution and Trinseo approached the market with €40-50/ton increases after the monthly styrene contracts settled €32.5/ton higher. This size of increases has not found reflection on the spot market, where sellers have only sought €20-30/ton hikes so far.

PS deals being done only €15-20 up

Deals, meanwhile, have started to be concluded with much smaller increases of €15-20/ton in Italy. Some converters commented, “Sellers are under sales pressure. The poor performance of demand dents the market sentiment as there are no supply concerns around. This naturally resulted in quite high stocks on the sellers’ side.” Rumor has it that sellers are conceding to smaller hikes considering a possible downturn in June-July.

Faint hike attempts show up from sellers in ABS market

In the ABS market, sellers have also raised their offers for May by €20-30/ton following the higher styrene contracts and stable butadiene contracts. However, buyers are reluctant to accept these hikes and sellers are not adamant about their hike targets for this month. This is because thin demand has been permeating the marketplace in the midst of slow end business of converters.

ABS buyers confident to obtain rollovers

Buyers widely think that lethargic demand and the lack of supply issues will cast a pall over the hike attempts of sellers and they will achieve steady prices from the previous month in their monthly deals.

Outlook murky for June in PS, ABS markets; will trend shift direction?

Buyers are holding onto the expectations of seeing some relief in price increases in June and therefore, they are not rushing to replenish stocks. Availability also remains comfortable for both products, which also contributes to the waiting stance of buyers.

Feedstock costs in the upstream markets have also been weakening in the past two weeks in tandem with crude oil prices. On top of this, PS markets in Asia have also been faltering in the midst of re-escalating trade tensions between China and the US.
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