Global styrene markets have been bullish for most of December in line with firmer crude oil and benzene prices, as per Chemorbis. After moving close to US$90/barrel in early part of December, Nymex crude oil prices maintained a firm trend, hovering around US$88/barrel. Gaining support from the strong oil market, benzene prices also rose globally. When compared with the start of this month, US benzene spot prices are up by around 22.95 cents/gallon (around US$68/ton), up by US$72/ton in Asia and up by US$50/ton in Europe, with the largest spike in Asian benzene prices recorded in the earlier days of this week.
In Europe, spot styrene prices recorded noticeable increases compared to the start of last week, rising by over US$30/ton in a week's time, gaining support from a US$35/ton spike in spot benzene prices over last week. In Asia, spot styrene prices on FOB Korea basis recorded a total increase of US$70/ton since the beginning of December, rising by US$15/ton in the earlier days of this week. Higher oil and benzene prices, along with tightening styrene supplies across the region due to scheduled shutdowns at several producers were cited as the main reason behind the increase.
As of the start of this week, US spot styrene prices were standing around 2.65 cents/lb (around US$58/ton) above the early December level. Although prices have been fluctuating since the middle of the month, US styrene sellers are also trying to be firm with their prices due to higher upstream costs.