The critical shortages that have been in place since Q4 look set to continue in Q1.
ABS prices increased €200/mt in January in Europe because of ongoing supply tightness and good demand, according to GC Intelligence price assessments.
Most producers acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) report limited availability.
The strong demand, production issues, and most important the absence of Asian imports, all accumulated to shorten supply in Europe.
The steep climb may have evened out the arbitrage from Asia to Europe. But shipping disruptions and high costs of transport meant it remains closed.
The ABS market in Europe has been getting tighter every month since the summer.
As prices along the value chain near the peak, some slowdown in the upside is expected.
But for now, a retreat is unlikely as producers are apparently sold out until after Q1.
Some buyers had to absorb much bigger increases and prices substantially above €2,000/mt while struggling to secure volumes.
ABS prices increased €200/mt, a jump which was once again much bigger than the combined cost increase of raw materials.
This recovery in margins could continue in February.
In fact, the current market dynamics are likely to continue for most of Q1 and could spill over into Q2.
First, shipping disruptions will likely keep imports low. Second, demand should remain strong as there is little indication of a slowdown.
And finally, with crude oil above climbing to $55/bbl and good demand downstream, raw materials should remain supported for the next few months.