ABS markets in Asia have strengthened this week as suppliers lock in higher prices, citing higher raw material costs.
Manufacturing activity in China, a key market, typically accelerated in the second quarter and buying momentum would then pick up, sellers said.
Spot ABS prices rose to between $1,550 and $1,660 a tonne from last week, depending on the size and origin of the package, while some traders thought prices might have temporarily peaked.
Some sellers acknowledge that demand has not risen as much as the offer price.
While ABS buyers have resisted price rises in recent weeks, some have returned to the market to restock, fearing prices could rise further.
ABS is used to make lego bricks
"Supply has increased but we will have to see if demand can really keep up in the near term," said one southeast asia-based producer.
The price of styrene monomer, a key raw material, has remained basically stable in recent weeks.The price of another ingredient, acrylonitrile, soared as factories in Europe and the United States shut down.
ACN spot prices rose to $1,750 a tonne in March from $1,400 in January, according to ICIS data.
"The price of ACN * has risen sharply in recent weeks, so most ABS manufacturers have had to raise the price of the resin," said one Taiwanese producer.
ABS resin is used in home appliances, toys, consumer electronics, and also in the automotive and construction fields.
ABS producers have also been given an incentive to raise prices in anticipation of stable valuations for styrene monomers in the coming weeks, despite record inventories in China.
The overhaul of a large number of styrene monomer units will start in March to June, which may limit future supply.
"Supply of styrene monomers is likely to tighten in the second quarter due to maintenance work stoppage," said a Chinese resin trader.
The lack of concrete announcements in the ongoing sino-us trade talks continues to limit demand for ABS, particularly in China, which has proposed tariffs on household appliances.
Most buyers remain wary of piling up too much inventory