8 June, 2018
Several PS and ABS sellers in Asia have continued to implement visible increases on their import offers to China and Southeast Asia this week on the back of notably higher spot styrene prices in Asia. Demand, on the other hand, remained weak due to mounting resistance on buyers’ side.
Except for witnessing a visible $80/ton decrease on June 5, spot styrene prices in Asia have been mostly following an increasing trend since late April. The reasons behind the ongoing firmness in styrene prices were low inventories inside China and the reduced arrival of import cargoes. According to a Chinese player, styrene imports from the US and Korea were down given the anti-dumping duties, on the top of several turnarounds that were to be held from April to June.
Although the aforementioned fall in styrene prices have caused some concerns regarding the feasibility of the increases in the downstream markets, sellers mostly preserved their firm stance.
A Southeast Asian PS producer admitted, “Customers are showing resistance to our current price levels. After spot styrene prices posted a sharp daily decrease at the start of this week, the market has become volatile. We think that it will be harder to apply further increases on PS even if styrene prices will resume their firming given low buying interest.”
A second Southeast Asian producer raised its GPPS offers on the week blaming higher styrene prices compared to early May. A company source commented, “Despite the sharp fall in the spot styrene market, we are not planning to lower our offers as we expect styrene prices to pare their losses in the days ahead. Yet, further increases in PS prices are unlikely as buyers show resistance.”
Two Taiwanese producers also increased their offers to China and Southeast Asia between $30-50/ton for PS and $20-30/ton for ABS from last week despite slow demand. A Taiwanese trader operating in Vietnam increased their PS offers by $20/ton, adding, “We are unable to receive orders from Vietnam this week given the recent fluctuation of styrene prices in China. Sellers mostly wait to see a clearer picture of the market while buyers stick to the sidelines.”
The prevailing PS prices are deemed too high to be accepted, a Malaysian trader also affirmed. An ABS maker similarly remarked, “We maintained our offers as last week. The market may not digest any further hikes since producers have slightly higher stocks and demand is discouraging. Prices may go under pressure once turnarounds end by July and some import cargos arrive, moreover.” A toy manufacturer in China prefers to adopt a waiting stance for now as well blaming tepid end product business and high PS prices in the market.