A look back at Asian PS markets in 2018: Styrene continues to play a key role
Milestones for styrene throughout 2018
Having made a firm start to 2018, spot styrene prices in Asia mostly followed a firming trend in the first half of the year excluding the February-March period.
As can be seen in the graph above created by ChemOrbis Price Wizard, spot styrene prices on FOB Korea basis have been mostly on a bearish run starting from early August. This was when supply constraints across the globe carried the market to this year’s peak level and the weekly average of the market lost nearly 34% ever since.
China’s import PS market hits 16-month-low in early December
The weekly average data obtained from ChemOrbis Price Wizard show that China’s import PS market hit its lowest levels not seen since May 2017 in the beginning of December. In addition to styrene’s weak performance, slow trading activities amid the China-US trade war and the recent losses in crude oil futures also weighed on the market.
Meanwhile, the import PS market has lately displayed a cautious recovery after hitting a 16-month low. Sellers are seeking hikes based on styrene’s short-lived recovery. However, the market is expected to resume its decreasing trend in the remaining days of the year as spot styrene prices have moved back down due to falling crude oil futures.
Southeast Asian import PS market also mirrors the trend in styrene
Import PS prices in Southeast Asia have also mostly moved in the same direction with spot styrene prices. The market reached this year’s highest levels in early August just like spot styrene prices and followed a mostly bearish trend since then, the weekly average data obtained from ChemOrbis Price Index suggest.
Crude closes 2018 on bearish note
WTI crude oil futures on the NYMEX and Brent futures on ICE were on the firm side for the most part of 2018 and they hit a four-year high in early October. However, this followed significant losses amid concerns over a potential supply glut. This factor is also effective on shaping Asian PS players’ near-term expectations.
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