Firm increase in March PS offers in Europe

With an increase in styrene contract prices in March vs February contract level, PS hikes between €50-55/ton have emerged in the Italian market March. As per Chemorbis, the monthly monomer contracts were settled with a €42/ton (US$57/ton) increase for March, regaining the €13/ton loss posted in the February styrene contracts. The ongoing supply outages across the region, have pushed up European spot styrene market as prices moved up by US$25/ton during the last two weeks, with the total increase from the start of last month at US$140/ton. Combined with firming crude oil prices, which have been standing above the US$80/barrel threshold for almost a week, higher feedstock prices provided a firm ground for European PS sellers to announce higher prices to Italy despite the persistently slow demand conditions. In Italy’s PS market, taking support from higher monomer costs, along with low supplies across the region, traders introduced price hike requests of €40-50/ton from February, while producers’ official hikes for Gentlemen’s Agreements were announced between €50-55/ton. In the spot market, a trader reported that a West European supplier had initially asked for a €60/ton increase for March, which they adjusted slightly lower later as increases above €50/ton were considered unable to find acceptance amidst lethargic market conditions. Due to similar sales concerns, a Central European producer elected to ask for a relatively moderate increase of €20/ton over last month despite larger hike requests from other producers as they believe that the offers from other producers will not find acceptance in the market. Based on a buyer’s report, a €40/ton increase was already passed for March on a deal concluded for West European materials this week. However, the buyer described his end product business as slow, with no improvement at all. Despite the lower monomer contracts of benzene and styrene, along with poor demand, European producers wrapped up their February business with rollovers to €10-30/ton increases in Italy, taking their main support from overall tight availability. Although the producers had announced larger hike targets on their initial February offers, they were reduced due to lack of support from costs and demand, which was also the case in Turkey. Towards the end of February, European cargoes were considered as the most competitive option in the Turkish market as other origins were unacceptably high. Though European suppliers had initially announced increases of up to €50/ton to Turkey early last month, they were forced to concede some discounts on slow performance of end-product markets, as well as competitive local prices. However, taking support from higher costs and the improving end-product demand this month, import prices have firmed up for March.
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