ABS markets in Asia face downward pressure as dealers and suppliers build up inventories, but prices are still being pushed higher due to higher raw material costs.
The slowdown in sales after the lunar New Year holiday surprised some sellers, who had expected a recovery in March.
ABS CFR is quoted at $1,580 - $1,670 per ton this week, about $20 higher than last week.
Other sellers have yet to make offers, but most participants expect higher ones.
The supply of styrene monomer is expected to tighten in the second quarter as the key raw material styrene monomer industry enters its turnaround season in March, prompting downstream ABS producers to raise resin prices to maintain profit margins.
"The supply of styrene monomer is expected to tighten, so ABS suppliers have hinted at higher prices," said one Chinese dealer.
At the same time, ongoing trade talks between China and the United States have made market participants cautious, although both sides have recently said they are progressing well.
Most participants in the ABS industry chose to wait for specific information about some sort of settlement of a trade dispute before making an offer.After all, the us has proposed tariffs on chinese-made appliances that contain a lot of ABS material.
Due to the sino-us trade war, the trade outlook is not clear.
ABS resin is used in home appliances, toys, consumer electronics, and automotive and construction industries.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government's announcement of new economic stimulus measures appears to have cheered markets.
China's value-added tax on manufacturing will be cut to 13 per cent from the current 16 per cent, with the government
targeting growth of 6.0-6.5 per cent in 2019, down from 6.6 per cent real GDP growth last year.