Styrene spot price in Europe peaked to a four-and-a-half month high on Wednesday as tightness pressured buyers to buy prompt product at sky-high prices, according to industry sources, as per Platts. The 5-30 day spot price was assessed up US$47/mt on the day at US$1,302/mt FOB ARA Wednesday, the highest level since March 22. Spot prices have now gained US$171.50/mt over the past week.
Tightness was due to supply concerns as news emerged that Shell-BASF joint venture Ellba's propylene oxide/styrene monomer unit at Moerdijk was operating at a reduced rate of around 50%. The unplanned shutdown of Shell's Pernis refinery in the Netherlands was heard to be compromising propylene supply, a feedstock for the POSM process. It was unclear whether Shell's other POSM unit, also located at Moerdijk, was experiencing the same issue.
The tight supply is, however, confined to the early part of August. For H2-August, offers were heard at US$1270/mt, US$80/mt below the H1 traded level, with no buyers willing to bid at those levels. A buyer said that the decline reflected general August fundamentals -- as demand typically slows in the summer and some imported cargoes are expected to arrive -- rather than H1 August. The spot assessment Wednesday was at a 6% discount to the August contract price.