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TRINSEO ANNOUNCES TRIPLE-DIGIT INCREASES
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After the spike of more than €200/mt of the styrene contract price in November, Trinseo announces triple-digit increases on ABS, SAN, and PS.


However, the increases are more than the cost increase of the main raw material styrene. This is most probably to do with the recent surge in utility costs.

INEOS Styrolution has also announced similar increases on polystyrene (PS), namely €300/mt and higher than the increase in the styrene contract of €232/mt.

Trinseo’s increases on general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) are €290/mt.

While the increase on styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) is €240/mt. And acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is €230/mt.

There is a strong chance that the announced increases will be accepted. The markets remain highly uncertain and volatile amid supply shortages, especially for ABS but also for PS. As such, buyers may have little choice but to accept the entire increases.

ABS PRICES FIND SUPPORT IN OCTOBER

ABS prices find support in October, increasing €20/mt. After a surprise decrease in September, prices stabilized in October, but look set to spike again in November.


ABS prices are expected to post big increases in November. This is mainly to do with the anticipated spike in the feedstock styrene contract price. A sharp climb in styrene spot prices raised expectations of triple digit increases in the November contract.

ABS producers will likely pass on the higher styrene prices with little resistance because supply remains tight. The shortage of ABS has not eased. The high freights and delays are keeping imports low. Demand remains strong in many markets. And supply disruptions continue.

For example, Versalis suffered a technical issue in Mantua in September. The event reduced capacity at the plant to around 50%. And it forced the company to declare force majeure (FM) which remains in place at the time of writing.

The European acrylonitrile butadiene market (ABS) has been one of the worst hit polymer markets during the pandemic. The disruptions in the freight markets and good demand in Asia reduced imports which are an integral part of the European supply picture.

With the market likely to remain snug for the foreseeable future, the prospect of a spike in costs in November will surely translate to a big increase in ABS prices.

What is more, the surge in utility costs complicates matters further for market participants. The higher costs of gas and electricity forced some producers to announce hefty surcharges over and above the movements in costs.

The surge in energy prices is an additional factor supporting prices. It also raises the chances of heightened volatility for ABS prices in the next few months. A spike in prices could eventually lead to a big downward correction.

EU ABS IMPORTS REMAIN OVERALL LOW
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EU ABS imports remain overall low, according to the latest trade data by Eurostat.


The July data shows that total imports were slightly higher but were down versus July 2019.

The European Union (EU) before the pandemic was a net importer of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

South Korea was and still is the major exporter of ABS to Europe.

However, the latest figures show imports from the country in July was the lowest in the last three years.

The scarcity and high prices of tankers during the pandemic are likely keeping imports of ABS low during the pandemic.

Despite the lower prices in Asia compared to Europe lately, there has been little change in the trend established during the pandemic.

And since cost of freight and availability have not improved, it is likely that ABS imports will remain low until next year.

Imports are an important component of ABS supply in Europe, representing approximately 40% of the total. Therefore, this trend will continue to fuel the shortages.

Therefore, ABS remains extremely tight in Europe on the back of good demand, supply issues, but also low imports from Asia.

TRINSEO SEEKS UTILITIES SURCHARGE

Trinseo seeks utilities surcharge of €200-300/mt on styrenics and polycarbonates products from 1 November.


Trinseo will implement €200/mt surcharge on the following products: styrene monomer (SM); polystyrene (PS); styrene acrylonitrile (SAN); and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).

However, a surcharge of €300/mt will be implemented on polycarbonate (PC), PC/ABS Resins, and ABS Long Glass Fiber (ABS LGF).

The company noted that “these surcharges are in response to unprecedented and escalating pressure from energy prices and apply to all current agreements and contracts.”

Trinseo is not the only company to have take the step to implement surcharges in response to the spike in energy prices.

Many other polymer producers are taking the same step. For example, Celanese is applying a surcharge of €500/mt on POM.

If energy prices will continue to increase amid short supply of many polymers, producers will probably succeed in passing on the extra costs.

The higher energy costs adds yet another factor fuelling volatility across the entire value chain of the polymer industry.

As the increasing turmoil in many markets reduces visibility further, many players expect a prolonged volatile period ahead.

INEOS declares force majeure (FM) on ABS from US plant in Addyston, Ohio.

The 180,000 kt/pa plant has apparently suffered technical issues.

With European acrylonitrile butadiene styrene market (ABS) still tight, buyers expect further contraction in supply.

The FM in the US will probably prevent any extra volumes coming from the US to close the supply gap in Europe.

European buyers have continued to experience very low availability recently.

Versalis had declared FM in Italy due to technical problems.

This latest event on supply in the US will likely turn the scarcity in Europe from severe to critical for some buyers.

Meanwhile, as energy prices continue to go up, sellers are looking to implement cost surcharges.

This ongoing upside support on ABS prices will mean that that buyers will likely not see price decreases for the next few months. At least not before the end of the year.

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