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China domestic PS pullback threatens import uptrend in Asia

by Abdul Hadhi - ahadhi@chemorbis.com
  • 17/03/2021 (04:02)
Domestic PS offers in China have started to pull back amid increasing buying resistance and reduced feedstock cost support in a development that may spill over to import offers in Asia, according to market players.

According to the weekly average data obtained from ChemOrbis Price Index, local offers in China for GPPS and HIPS injection have declined 1-4% so far this week. Last week’s levels of $1675/ton and $2068/ton ex-warehouse, cash including VAT for GPPS and HIPS were levels not seen since June 2018.

Local PS prices - China

Import offers are not yet readily available for comparison purposes.

Last week in China, GPPS at $1550/ton CIF and HIPS at $1950/ton CIF were at their highest since August 2018, and October 2013, respectively - ChemOrbis data also show. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, GPPS at $1650/ton CIF and HIPS at $2000/ton CIF were the highest since September 2014 and August 2013, respectively.

More buying resistance, less feedstock cost support

The multi-year highs in PS prices have also seen some pushback from buyers.

A Malaysia-based trader added, “We haven’t received any offers this week. Perhaps producers are sold out and can’t offer. But demand this week is slower, and buyers expect prices to go down as they have seen styrene prices soften. We also expect the same and prefer to wait-and-see.”

Weaker feedstock cost support has added to expectations of a softening in regional PS markets. Styrene prices have witnessed a total decrease of $175-180/ton or 13% since early March to $1190/ton CFR China and $1170/ton FOB Korea, ChemOrbis Price Wizard suggests.

Tight supply may limit downside

A potential downside for PS price in Asia may, however, be limited by a relatively tight supply.

A Vietnam-based trader said, “Prices are high, and not many people are willing to buy. As the market is stuck between muted demand and tight supply now, we prefer to wait until one of these factors becomes more efficient.”

Supply has been tightened by maintenance shutdowns at several Chinese plants. Meanwhile, Denka in Singapore was due to have ended GPPS production early this week.
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