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Will Europe’s record high ABS prices attract imports from Asia?

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 28/03/2017 (14:36)
In Europe, increases of up to €170/ton were materialized on March ABS deals as the market remained indifferent to the falling feedstock prices owing to the support from dwindling supplies and better demand. Along with the gains recorded in March, Europe’s spot ABS prices hit all-time-highs, according to ChemOrbis Price Index. Players are now questioning whether there can be imports to Europe from Asia, where ABS prices are falling on feedstock drops, as an arbitrage window has opened recently.

“A West European supplier closed its order books in early March due to some production hiccups at its plant in Antwerp. Furthermore, reduced availability and the lack of imports are expected to put a cap on sudden declines in April. A stable to slightly softer trend might prevail in April following the recent decreases in the feedstock markets. April styrene contracts might post decreases of €100-150/ton,” agreed many distributors in the region.

As for upstream losses, spot butadiene prices on FOB Korea basis plunged by $1200/ton from early March while styrene prices posted decreases of almost $200/ton within the same timeframe in Asia. In Europe, spot butadiene prices on FD NWE basis fell by €500/ton and styrene on FOB NWE basis dropped by around $370/ton compared to the beginning of March.

ChemOrbis Price Wizard reveals that the arbitrage started to widen as of early February and the gap between local ABS prices in Europe and import prices in China currently stands at $550/ton, widest in almost 8 months.

However, players across Europe report that import offers from Asia are still limited and not at competitive levels. Therefore, the tightness has not found a relief yet. Although the cost side is putting a visible pressure on the ABS market, the ongoing tightness and the lack of competitive offers from the import market are not strenghtening buyers’ hands to push for discounts for now.

Source: ChemOrbis Price Wizard
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