ABS prices increased slightly in January versus December, namely by €10-20/mt, even if the picture was a little mixed. Depending on starting point, there were slight decreases, rollovers but mainly increases.
The increase in the monthly contract prices of styrene of €115/mt to €1540/mt, pushed up by the surprise increase upstream, namely benzene, which increased €145/mt to €812/mt, prevented further falls.
Prices increase slightly mainly due to the increase in costs and better demand.
While the downward pressure remains in place and accentuated by the recent fall in gas prices and ongoing competition from imports, players are seeing some supporting trends beside raw material prices.
For example, the lower prices in Europe and extended lead times narrowed the arbitrage with Asia. A rebound in prices in Asia to around $1600/mt also helped to narrow the gap in prices between the two regions.
Another supporting factor was a slight pickup in demand from some segments of the market, such as from the distribution sector. However, the slight recovery in demand in January may be to do with restocking.
The market update is an exerpt fromt the monthly report.
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