The absence of Asian imports and improving demand are helping players restore margins.
SAN prices in Europe decreased in October by €10/mt, according to GC Intelligence price assessments.
The small decrease follows a decrease in the main feedstock, styrene.
The monomer price fell on the back of a persistent weak market environment in Europe.
The ongoing pandemic in Europe continues to hit demand across the value chain and is preventing a stronger rebound.
However, there is also an element of seasonal slowdown in costs. This normally starts in October and continues until the end of the year.
Despite the lower numbers, styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) sellers managed to widen margins as the $10/mt fall was less than the fall in the cost of raw materials.
Depending on type of account, negotiations resulted also in bigger decreases or indeed rollovers.
SAN prices in Europe have found support in the past few months because a healthy Chinese market is reducing imports from the region.
However, the lack in imports was not the only factor that helped to keep SAN demand healthy in October.
Indeed, another reason why demand was strong in October is that many downstream markets continue to recover from the slump in the spring.
Furthermore, an element of stock building also supported demand. Most likely, buyers have been increasing inventories ahead of a second peak of infections.
And with upstream costs now on the way up, SAN could see higher prices in November.
But a big part of current demand is to do with building stocks, then demand could be much weaker in November.
As such, sellers could soon find themselves struggling to defend margins amid a second wave of the coronavirus.