Steady import PS prices in China on stable upstream costs

26-Jul-10
In China, the overall import PS price range recorded decreases on a week over week basis, though most of these down adjustments were made at the beginning of last week, as per Chemorbis. Import offers, which had been losing ground for a long time on the back of poor demand, began to stabilize towards the end of last week as producers started to see support from the upstream markets. At the start of the week, overall GPPS offers retreated by US$5-35/ton while HIPS prices lost US$15/ton on CFR/FCA China basis. Persistently poor demand as well as the lower operating rates at converters contributed to these decreases. However, the market changed direction towards the end of last week on the back of the firmer upstream costs. Spot styrene prices in Asia recorded increases during the past week with the help of firmer oil prices. Samsung Total experienced a shutdown at its cracker complex in Daesan which has affected 950,000 tpa of styrene capacity. The producer planned to begin restarting some units by Friday evening, but spot styrene prices were boosted by US$50/ton vs prices on Thursday. Oil prices also showed a strong trend as August contracts expired on NYMEX, reaching a three-week high settlement at US$77.44/bbl. Following that, September crude futures firmed up further as they closed the day with a US$2.74/bbl increase at US$79.30/bbl on Thursday 22nd. Spot styrene prices gained US$65/ton on week over week basis reaching the highest level reported during the month of July. Meanwhile, benzene prices also gained ground during this past week by around US$50/ton on FOB Korea basis. Due to the rising costs, sellers began to pronounce an optimistic view regarding the PS market’s direction as long as upstream costs continue to give support. Producers mostly elected to maintain their current offer levels at the end of last week since they wanted to ensure sales on the back of the improved market sentiment because they complain that PS demand is not great. However, some of these sellers already started mentioning that they are mulling over issuing increases.
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