ABS prices in February decreased in Europe by €50/mt on the back of softer demand, according to the latest assessments by GC Intelligence.
This is the first decrease in months. Prices have rallied for much of last year, taking levels for many buyers close to €3,000/mt.
Faced with such high prices, buyers had struggled to pass on the increases downstream.
However, not all customers received decreases for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) in February. Some only managed to secure rollovers in line with raw material costs.
But many accounts that rolled over were for the most part based on contracts and already had lower prices.
While demand was slowing in markets that had been booming during the pandemic, the increases in supply from the new capacities also helped to improve availability.
The new production capacities in France and Italy are understood to have started production and sales of ABS.
Meanwhile, activity has not picked up from the slowdown in December and the outlook has weakened.
But value chains remain disrupted, with high costs and logistic issues. This, together with high energy costs, should limit any downside potential in prices.
What is more, uncertainty over geopolitical issues in Ukraine and the uncertain impact of looser restrictions across Europe are keeping the range of possibilities wide.
Nevertheless, the European ABS market has clearly improved from the critical shortages experienced last year.