March expectations emerge in the European ABS market
A South European producer is settling their February ABS contracts with decreases between €20-40/ton in Germany. A producer source commented, “We received a good number of orders as the automative sector is performing well. For March, we expect to see increases.”
Distributors in Italy are giving February offers for European ABS with decreases of up to €40/ton while keeping their prices stable from last month for locally-held Asian origins. One of the sellers reported hearing talks about increases for March. Another distributor is waiting to receive new guidelines from his South Korean supplier following the Chinese New Year holiday, commenting that he is anticipating higher prices.
Despite the widespread market talk about a possible upturn for the approaching month, a stabilization is considered to be more likely on the buyers’ side. A converter in Germany commented, “ABS prices are suggesting decreases of up to €40/ton from last month and availability is normal. We think that prices have reached the bottom this month, but we don’t expect to see major changes in March.” Another converter in France stated that he anticipates rollovers for next month, commenting that ABS consumption isn’t high for now. A buyer in Italy added, “There are rumors about increases for March, but we are projecting mainly rollovers considering that crude oil prices are still at low levels.”
Upstream, spot styrene prices on an FOB NWE basis climbed by $35/ton at the end of last week due to market talk about lower run rates in tandem with narrow production margins. Even though many buyers think that the current market dynamics aren’t strong enough to support an upturn, the recent gain in styrene costs is seen supporting firm expectations for the upcoming month for now.