ABS prices increased €200/mt in November 2021, according to GC Intelligence prices assessments. Supply shortages and good demand continued to help producers pass on the increases in raw material costs.
Sellers tried to also push for surcharges to offset the steep increases in electricity and other costs. However, the big increase in the styrene monomer contract price eased the additional pressure of the higher utility costs.
Meanwhile, there was little resistance from buyers as the European ABS market remains affected by severe shortages. While production issues and logistics continue to reduce domestic availability, imports volumes are below pre-pandemic levels.
The surge in freight costs during the pandemic and good demand in Asia reduced availability of imports from the region. Europe for years was a net importer of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). But in the past year Europe has become a net exporter.
As imports represent about 40% of the European ABS supply, even a minor slowdown has a big impact on overall availability.
The lack of availability and low imports should characterize the market for the next few months. As infections increase, players will likely continue to face disruptions. With buyers fighting for availability, producers’ margins will most likely not come down from the current highs.