Persistent fall continues in styrene prices in Asia and Europe

Despite a rise of US$4 per barrel in oil prices since beginning of the month, styrene prices continue to lose grounds in Asia and Europe causing buyers to anticipate decreases in PS markets as per Chemorbis. In Asia, styrene lost almost US$70/ton FOB Korea since the beginning of June, falling to US$1010/ton. Out of this, US$40/ton of this decrease occurred during last week. This downward momentum was attributed to China’s domestic spot styrene market where Sinopec Zhenhai started the new 620,000 tpa styrene plant at 90% capacity. CNOOC Shell is operating its newly expanded 700,000 tpa styrene plant in Nanhai at full capacity while Tianjin Dagu raised run rates at their new 500,000 tpa styrene plant in China to 80-85% capacity. Meanwhile, Iran's Pars Petrochemical restarted tits 600,000 tpa styrene plant on May 24th being currently operated at 70% capacity. The company’s styrene shipments to China are reportedly double their normal amounts for this month. Looking at the PS market in China, spot import prices lost ground by ten dollars when compared to the previous week for both the dutiable and non-dutiable origins on the back of the lower styrene costs. Plus, the high stock levels on the producers’ side also added to the situation. Despite the firmer oil prices; the lower upstream costs, new styrene capacities in China and Iran as well as the current stock pressure on the sellers’ side are expected to take their toll on the PS market for the upcoming days. In Europe, spot styrene prices are nearly US$90/ton lower FOB NWE basis when compared to the beginning of June at US$1085/ton. These decreases mainly happened during this past week mainly due to the thin trading activities despite higher benzene costs. June contract has settled with €73/ton (US$90/ton) decreases in the region on FD NWE basis at €1072/ton (US$1327/ton). In the Italian spot PS market, deals continue to be reported settling with €20-50/ton decreases compared to May levels although sellers manage to achieve smaller decreases considering the June styrene contract, gaining support from the still reportedly tight availability. Demand is still restricted to immediate needs as buyers find the current PS prices too high to be workable. They also highlight the fact that they do not struggle to find availability in the market but they admit facing delays in their deliveries from their suppliers. Despite a €150/ton (US$185/ton) increase announcement from a major regional producer regarding their July PS film contracts, buyers in Italy mainly expect a downward trend for the next month while the market is anticipated to be mostly stable for the rest of June. However, sellers continue to voice that July decreases will be limited.
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