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European PS buyers cautious amid expectations of further firming

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 09/02/2017 (16:25)
In Europe, PS prices posted triple digit increases for the third month in a row on higher feedstock costs. Firmer prices deter buyers from purchasing while some of them were mulling over switching to alternative products such as PP due to the massive increases. In line with the upcoming maintenance shutdowns, a price relief in the PS market is not deemed likely as styrene prices are expected to keep moving upwards on the back of tight fundamentals.

A West European producer had officially announced €270/ton increases in early February on their GPPS prices. A producer source reported, “PS supply is tight and we will focus on procuring material for our regular customers initially. Global styrene markets are under pressure and we expect this shortness to persist until March-April. As for March, we expect prices to maintain their firming trend.”

Nevertheless, a distributor from the Netherlands reported to have obtained increases larger than styrene hikes in the spot market, saying, “Although converters were shocked about the increase amount, we could sell West European material for February with €270/ton increases. Meanwhile, our supplier informed us that they are likely to close their order books soon. HIPS is a bit tighter than GPPS.”

Producers are determined to pass costs on February done deals, attributing this to the higher styrene settlements and bullish outlook while buyers bid for slightly below €260/ton level and they basically take a wait and see stance for now.

A buyer from Germany stated, “We don’t think that producers will revise their hike targets down below €260/ton. We will be forced to purchase some volumes in February as we did not build stocks in January. Looking at the global styrene markets, we expect further increases.”

Another buyer from Italy reported receiving spot offers from different European origins with €220-240/ton increases. “We are taking a wait and see stance to have a clearer idea of the market trend and we will decide on purchasing next week,” added the buyer.

In Italy, PS prices are reported at €1640-1750/ton for GPPS and at €1740-1850/ton for HIPS, while in Northwest Europe, prices stand at €1700-1800/ton for GPPS and at €1780-1900/ton for HIPS, all on local terms.
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