Italian PS market defies the increases in spot styrene costs

14-Nov-11
In Europe, spot styrene prices are US$20/ton higher when compared to the beginning of October but the increase amount is heftier at US$145/ton (€107/ton) with respect to the beginning of November, as per ChemOrbis. The main reason behind these sharp increases on spot styrene prices was pronounced as tight availability, caused by the delayed restarts of some producers’ plants. Styron has delayed the restart of its 500,000 tpa ethyl-benzene styrene plant located in Terneuzen, the Netherlands to H2-November from H1-November- operations at the plant were halted at the beginning of October for maintenance. Total Petrochemical’s 600,000 tpa ethyl-benzene styrene unit, which was shut in line with the maintenance work on their cracker during November, may see a delayed restart, although this information has not been confirmed by the company at the time of publishing, as per ChemOrbis. This situation also puts benzene feedstock under pressure. However, for now benzene prices are mostly unchanged since the beginning of November and are US$30/ton lower when compared to the beginning of October. These bullish developments in the spot styrene market are yet to find reflection in the downstream PS market since Italian PS players mostly focus on the lower styrene contracts for the month of November and the weak PS demand. Styrene contracts have been steadily spiraling down since August while overall PS prices, in line with the contract market, have been dipping since end August/early September. On a weekly basis, the PS market retreated by €40/ton while sellers offering towards the high end of the offer ranges admitted facing resistance as their prices are not found competitive. When compared to the beginning of October, the spot PS market indicates €50-60/ton decreases while a large buyer reported obtaining an €80/ton decrease from their supplier. Some sellers still try to limit their decreases to €10-20/ton although they acknowledge that they might have to revise down their prices in the upcoming days in order to generate better demand.
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