ABS Resin Production and Market

Abstract: The paper summarizes ABS resin production capacity, actual output, market demand and price both at home and abroad, analyzes the actuality and development trend of ABS Resin plants, and introduces ABS resin research & development and technology progress.
Key words: ABS Resin; Production; Market; Progress

1. Production

1.1 World

In 2020, there was no new capacity of ABS resin in the world, and the total capacity of ABS was about 11.85 million t/a. As the world’s largest ABS resin manufacturer, Chimei Corporation has a total capacity of 2.1 million t/a, including 1.35 million t/a in Tainan and 750 kt/a in Zhenjiang. As the world’s second-largest ABS resin manufacturer, LG Chem has a total capacity of 1.95 million t/a, including 900 kt/a in South Korea, 750 kt/a in Ningbo, China, and 300 kt/a in Huizhou, China. As the world’s third-largest ABS resin manufacturer, INEOS Styrolution has a total capacity of 1.35 million t/a in 9 countries. As the world’s fourth-largest ABS resin manufacturer, Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corporation has a total capacity of 860 kt/a, including 410 kt/a in Taiwan and 450 kt/a in Ningbo. As the world’s fifth-largest ABS resin manufacturer, PetroChina has a total capacity of 700 kt/a, including 600 kt/a in Jilin Petrochemical Company and 100 kt/a in Daqing Petrochemical Company. The production capacity of the five major producers reaches 6.96 million t/a, accounting for 58.7% of the total global production capacity. For the world’s major ABS resin manufacturers and their production capacity in 2020, see Table

1. Table 1 Major Global ABS Resin Manufacturers and Their Production Capacity in 2020
No.ManufacturerPlant locationCapacity/ (10 kt/a)
1Taiwan Chimei CorporationMainland and Taiwan of China210.0
2LG ChemKorea, China195.0
3INEOS StyrolutionSouth Korea, Belgium, United States, Germany, Mexico, Thailand, Spain, India, Brazil135.0
4Formosa Chemicals & Fibre CorporationMainland and Taiwan of China86.0
5PetroChinaChina70.0
6Lotte chemical (Samsung)South Korea55.0
7Techno-UMGJapan43.0
8TorayJapan, Malaysia42.0
9Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co., Ltd.China40.0
10SABIC Innovative PlasticsUnited States, Mexico35.5
11TranscoUnited States, Netherlands, China32.5
12Kumho PetrochemicalSouth Korea25.0
13The Iran Petrochemical Commercial CompanyIran20.0
14Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical CompanyChina20.0
15Sinochem HoldingsSpain18.0
16IRPCThailand18.0
Other140.0
Total1185.0
Ineos plan to established a global ABS plant in Ningbo, China, with the production capacity of 600 kt/a, which is expected to be completed in 2023. In August 2019, Ineos, a styrene supplier headquartered in Germany, began to build an acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) unit with the capacity of 100 kt/a in Bayport, Texas. In addition, it plans to add the ABS capacity of 70 kt/a to Altamira plant, Mexico. In January 2020, it also announced its plan to establish a world-class ABS production base in Ningbo, China. The new production base will be built near the polystyrene plant acquired by it in Ningbo. Less than a year after announcing the acquisition of two polystyrene production bases in China, it began to expand its production capacity in China. The plant, which has the planned unit capacity of 600 kt/a, has started construction by the end of 2020 and is expected to be completed in 2023. In recent years, there are still new or expanded units despite the serious overcapacity of ABS resin in the world. For the new or proposed ABS resin plants abroad, see Table 2. Table 2 New Or Proposed ABS Resin Plants Abroad
CompanyPlaceCapacity / (10 kt/a)Remarks
TorayMalaysia7.5(Expanded)Completed in 2021
INEOS StyrolutionMexico7.0(Expanded)To be determined (TBD)
Texas, USA10.0(New)TBD
Ningbo, China60.0(New)Completed in 2023
SamsungLishui, Korea4.0(Expanded)TBD
LG ChemLishui, Korea10.0(Expanded)TBD
Total98.5

1.2 China

In 2020, there was no new capacity of ABS in China, so China had the total ABS resin capacity of 4115 kt/a still and the total output of 4123.2 kt. Most domestic ABS plans maintain high load production and have the operating rate of about 101.3%.

The emulsion grafting and mixing method is used by most of the enterprises in the ABS resin industry in China. The continuous bulk polymerization method is used only by North Huajin Chemical Industries Group Corporation, Guangxi Keyuan New Material Co., Ltd., Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Company, Trinsco (Zhangjiagang) and Zhenjiang Chimei, with the total capacity of 565  kt/a, accounting for 13.7% of total domestic ABS production capacity.

For the main ABS resin manufacturers and their production capacity in 2020 in China, see Table 3.

Table 3 Domestic Production Enterprises And Their Production Capacity in China in 2020
No.Manufacturerthroughput /(10 kt· A-1)Output / 10 ktOperating rate /%
1Zhenjiang Chimei Chemical Co., Ltd.80.070.087.5
2Ningbo LG Yongxing Chemical Co., Ltd.75.077.1102.8
3PetroChina Jilin Petrochemical Company60.064106.7
4 Formosa Chemicals Industries (Ningbo) Limited Company50.050.1100.2
5Tianjin Dagu Chemical Co., Ltd.40.047.8119.5
6LG Chem (Huizhou) Chemical Co., Ltd.30.032.0106.7
7Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Company20.018.090.0
8Shandong Haili Chemical Co., Ltd.20.015.075.0
9North Huajin Chemical Industries Group Corporation14.014.02100.1
10PetroChina Daqing Petrochemical Company10.012.3123.0
11Trinsco Petrochemical (Zhangjiagang) Co., Ltd.7.57.093.3
12Guangxi Keyuan New Material Co., Ltd.5.05.0100
Total411.5412.32101.3
 On November 29, 2020, the signing ceremony of the ABS new material project with the annual output of 1.1 million t/a of Keyuan Holding Group Co., Ltd.  was held in Shaoxing. According to the agreement, the new material project will be located in Shengzhou, Shaoxing City. The project, which has the total investment of 6 billion Yuan, will be constructed in two phases and completed within five years. KeYuan will invest 4 billion Yuan in the first phase to build a plant with the production capacity of 600 kt/a, including 100 kt/a new high transparent ABS and invest another 2 billion Yuan in the second phase to build a plant with the production capacity of 500 kt/a. After the completion of the project, the annual output value will be about 20 billion Yuan. The project will effectively meet the domestic demand for new ABS materials, reduce the dependence on imports and stabilize the domestic industrial balance. For new and proposed ABS resin plants in China in the future, see Table

2. Market

China is the largest consumer of ABS resin in the world. In 2020, the total domestic ABS consumption was 6.08 million tons, 220 kt increase over 2019. In the downstream demand of ABS resin, household appliances, office equipment, transportation, light industry, building materials and others account for 58%, accounted for 14%, 13%, 8%, and 7%, respectively. In the market, the main ABS products include Chimei 757K, LG-121H, Jihua 0215A, GE-150 and 0215H, Taihua 15A1, Dagu DG417, etc. Users general require the ABS resin for all purpose, i.e. ABS with good impact resistance, fluidity, stiffness and toughness balance, etc. Although the ABS resin production capacity and output in China have increased rapidly, they are mainly general ABS, accounting for more than 85% of the total consumption, and thereby cannot meet the domestic demand. A lot of ABS still needs to be imported every year. For domestic ABS resin output, import and export and apparent consumption from 2011 to 2020, see Table 5. It is difficult to control the pandemic abroad, so some import orders flow to China to a certain extent. It is expected that the pandemic abroad will continue in 2021, even until the end of 2021. The demand for home appliances abroad will continue to increase, the production and sales of Midea, Gree, AUX and other manufacturers will continue to rise, and the production and sales of new energy vehicles will also continue to increase. Thus, the demand for ABS is expected to exceed about 6 million tons. Table 5 Domestic ABS Resin Supply and Demand from 2011 to 2020
YearOutput, 10 ktImport, 10 ktExport, 10 ktApparent consumption, 10 ktSelf supply rate, %
2011214.90185.274.3395.8754.3
2012210.90166.544.16373.2856.5
2013229.72166.993.13393.5858.4
2014282.5166.833.32446.0163.3
2015326.24162.492.35486.3867.1
2016338.3168.562.82504.0466.6
2017359.3178.903.53534.6767.2
2018365.38172.833.95534.2668.4
2019397.17192.373.79585.7567.8
2020412.32201.174.95608.5467.8
The average annual demand growth rate of ABS resin in China is expected to be about 7%, meaning that the demand will increase by 2.46 million t/a by 2025.

3. Price

Early in 2020, the ABS market continued to decline. The price fell from 12000 Yuan/t to 11600 Yuan/t, and even 9200 Yuan/t in March. In October, ABS consumption in household appliances and other industries was still high, and the ABS market rose again after a period of fluctuation. At the end of November, the price rose to the highest level of 18600 Yuan/t in the whole year. In December, the high level of ABS market fell back and finally fell to 15000 Yuan/t.

 

Fig. 1 Price Trend Of Domestic ABS Resin in 2020

In the next few years, there are new expectations for many large plants, and the industry will usher in a development peak. In addition, the downstream automotive and electronics industries have a great demand potential, and the household appliance industry is just in demand. Thus, the ABS supply will exceed demand, and the price competition will be more intense.

4. Import and Export

China’s ABS resin products are mainly general ABS, which cannot meet the needs of domestic speciallity material products. Thus a lot of ABS needs to be imported from abroad every year. In 2020, 2011.7 kt was imported to China, with an increase of 4.57% over 2019, and 49.5 kt was exported, with an increase of 30.61% over 2019. For the import and export of ABS resin in China from 2011 to 2020, see Table 6.

Table 6 import and export of ABS resin in China from 2011 to 2020

Year

Import, 10 kt

Import than last year, %

Export, 10 kt

Export than last year, %

2011

185.27

-14.60

4.30

-21.82

2012

166.54

-10.10

4.16

-3.26

2013

166.99

0.30

3.13

-24.76

2014

166.83

0.01

3.32

0.06

2015

162.49

-2.60

2.35

-23.80

2016

168.56

3.73

2.82

20.00

2017

178.90

6.13

3.53

25.18

2018

172.83

-3.40

3.95

11.90

2019

192.37

11.30

3.79

-0.04

2020

201.17

4.57

4.95

30.61

 

In 2020, the import trade of ABS resin was mainly general trade and feeding processing trade. The feeding processing trade mainly aims at foreign markets, so China is only a processing base.

Table 7 Import Sources of Domestic ABS Resin in 2020

Trading country

Import, 10 kt

Share, %

Taiwan, China

82.82

41.17

South Korea

65.22

32.42

Malaysia

21.54

10.71

Thailand, China

10.96

5.49

Japan

5.31

2.64

Saudi Arabia

4.19

2.08

Other

11.13

5.49

Total 

201.17

100

5. Development Trend and Suggestions

5.1 Development Trend

At present, the focus of the world refining and chemical industry has shifted eastward. The pattern of China’s refining and chemical industry is changing rapidly. A new pattern of diversified competition among state-owned enterprises, private enterprises, and foreign enterprises is forming and emerging. With the increasing investment enthusiasm and intensity, the refining and chemical industry shows a large-scale, integrated, and clustered development trend, which is driving the blowout growth of ABS production capacity. In the next three years, many new ABS plants with a total capacity of more than 3 million t/a will be launched in China, such as the 600 kt/a ABS plant of Chimei (Zhangzhou), 250 kt/a ABS plant of Formosa Chemicals Industries (Ningbo) Limited Company, 600 kt/a ABS plant of Liaoning Baolai Chemical Co., Ltd., 600 kt/a ABS plant of Jilin Petrochemical Company in Jieyang and Jilin, respectively, 400 kt/a ABS plant of Lihuayi Group (Dongying), and 600 kt/a ABS plant of INEOS Styrolution (Ningbo). In addition, many other manufacturers are interested in investing in ABS plants. Therefore, the ABS market will see very cutthroat competition in the future.

5.2 Suggestion

In 2020, the ABS resin in China experienced a roller-coaster market change, especially in the second half of the year, beyond all expectations. That has prompted ABS production enterprises to maintain ultra-high operating rates and get huge profits. Moreover, many refining and chemical enterprises are eager to enter the ABS industry, which objectively accelerates the arrival of the cut-throat competition pattern.

In the increasingly severe competition, comprehensive competitiveness such as industrial scale, product quality, production cost, marketing channel, profitability, service level, etc., has become the key factor of determining the survival of ABS manufacturers. With the blowout increase of domestic ABS production capacity, the ABS supply will exceed demand in an all-around way. The launch of a large number of low-end products to the market will have a huge impact on the price of ABS products, but it is difficult to impact the share of the high-end market because high-end users never use low-end ABS products in spite of their low price. Therefore, product quality will become the decisive factor to win high-end market share. Thus, the market share can be maintained only by continuously improving the product quality.

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