7 Aug, 2018
Styrene prices in major markets climbed over the week driven by supply constraints in Europe and Asia. Spot prices in Asia have hit one and a half year high, while prices in Europe and US have also posted visible hikes to hit nearly 2-month highs recently, according to the weekly average data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard.
Spot styrene prices posted a cumulative increase of $110/ton on an FOB Korea basis since early July, while the total hike in Europe reached around $80/ton on an FOB NWE basis, the data revealed. Moreover, the recent gains paved the way for a slightly higher outcome in August styrene settlements, defying earlier expectations for lower contracts prior to summer holidays.
Soaring prices were mainly attributed to production outages at some styrene units in Europe and Asia, where players reported either shutdowns or lower operating rates.
In Asia, three Japanese producers planned scheduled turnarounds in the third quarter of this year. Around 900,000 tons/year of styrene capacity was expected to be offline during the shutdowns which were slated to last one month or slightly longer.
Moreover, a Taiwanese styrene producer has reportedly experienced an unexpected outage at its 180,000 tons/year styrene unit recently, which reinforced supply concerns. The company’s second unit has already been down for a scheduled maintenance since July.
In Europe, a styrene producer has reportedly faced a technical issue at its POSM unit recently while another styrene producer already planned a turnaround at its 280,000 tons/year unit during August.
Rising styrene prices also paved the way for hike attempts from downstream PS producers in major markets including China and Turkey over the week. However, firmer prices were overshadowed by parity concerns as the depreciation of the Chinese Yuan and the Turkish lira against the USD has been keeping the activity hesitant in both regions.