Styrene costs are considerably softer in Europe as well as Asia amidst volatile crude prices trading mostly below US$100/bbl since the beginning of May, as per Chemorbis. Spot styrene prices in Europe shed US$60/ton (€42/ton) this week, and US$115/ton (€80/ton) on FOB NWE basis since the beginning of the month. Lower benzene prices in the region, as well as volatile crude oil prices, coupled with supply concerns - especially for the downstream GPPS market, are amongst the main reasons behind this softening. In the spot benzene market, offers retreated by US$110/ton (€77/ton) when compared to the start of the month due to weak demand and more than expected number of imports into the region. In Italy’s PS market, distributors started to adjust down their initial May prices to generate better buying interest bringing down the high end of the spot offers slightly, particularly for GPPS, while HIPS prices still see support from firm butadiene costs despite overall weak demand.
In Asia, spot styrene offers lost US$80/ton with respect to the beginning of May, while the weekly decrease is around US$25/ton on FOB Korea basis. This decrease is due to the slow demand in China. Further decreases are anticipated in the market, given the lower benzene prices in the region amidst fluctuating oil costs. Spot benzene prices shed US$110/ton when compared to early May with the same terms in line with the globally softer trend and unstable oil prices.
Looking at China’s PS market briefly, import prices retreated for both dutiable and non-dutiable origins by US$10-20/ton at the low end and they remained stable at the high end of the ranges over this past week. Overall demand is still slow in the country as most buyers expect to see further decreases given the softer upstream costs amidst quiet demand.