New import ABS prices emerged from various Far East Asian suppliers over the past week with regional producers announcing monthly hike requests to Turkey as per ChemOrbis. Traders received increases ranging between US$10-50/ton for August depending on the origin and grade. Comfortable local availability, lower costs in several upstream markets as well as the ongoing holiday lethargy are likely to put a cap on recent increases.
Traders reported receiving new ABS natural and white prices from a Taiwanese major with US$25/ton increases over the seller’s late July levels. However, they were unwilling to pay these hikes as they can hardly reflect their rising replacement costs onto their offers amidst generally thin activity following the Eid Holidays. Plus, traders pointed to the recent softening in styrene and butadiene costs as another reason to delay their purchases.
Two different South Korean producers also approached the market with renewed hike attempts for this month. Traders resisted these increases, commenting that overall activity is yet to pick after holidays while they are cautious to restock. A trader reported receiving fresh ABS offers for a South Korean origin with month over month increases of US$50/ton and US$10/ton, respectively. “We did not accept the increase for natural but we had to purchase some ABS white as we had relatively less stock levels for this grade. Hence, we may have to lift our local ABS white prices a bit in the coming days based on our higher costs. On the other hand, demand remains generally calm after the holidays with no considerable change,” the trader highlighted. In addition, a trader who receives material from a different South Korean producer reported, “Our supplier initially asked for US$45/ton hikes for August, but we managed to pay US$35/ton hikes following our negotiations. Their supply remains reduced as we believe that they are allocating comparatively larger quotas to other markets such as China.” The trader has not been able to reflect their higher replacement costs onto their local prices since demand has not shown any real improvement after the holiday so far, he lamented. “We are cautious with our replacements as we need to make sales at our current price levels. There is more than sufficient availability as Iranian ABS is still offered at attractive levels, which is affecting the market. Besides, many participants extended their holidays in the automotive and white goods sectors,” a trader commented. Indeed, ABS imports declined for a fourth consecutive month in June, posting a 0.4% drop from May to reach 7,806 tons.
Elsewhere, prices mostly held stable in China although ABS deals were concluded with slight discounts as lower butadiene and styrene costs combined with buyers’ resistance exerted some pressure on sellers. Similarly, demand was reported to be hesitant in Southeast Asia while irregular Middle Eastern cargos showed up. According to ChemOrbis, upstream, in line with softer crude oil and naphtha prices, spot styrene prices softened US$25/ton on an FOB South Korea basis week over week while butadiene costs plunged US$60/ton with the same terms. ACN prices, meanwhile gained $30/ton on a CFR Far East Asia basis.