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European PS players voice August expectations ahead of summer holidays

  • 22/07/2016 (10:24)
Players across European PS markets are concluding their July business with decreases of €100/ton in most cases although some converters pushed for the full drop on styrene contracts. July styrene monomer contracts settled down €125/ton at the start of the month. Now that the region is set to enter summer holidays in August, early expectations point to a mostly stable trend.

Several manufacturers in Europe are reporting their plans to shut their factories for around 2-3 weeks due to summer holidays, some of them starting from end July. Meanwhile, end product orders, particularly from the packaging industry, is said to be healthy given the high season, while no major issues are expressed regarding PS supplies.

Early expectations for next month started to be mentioned with many players projecting a stabilization in Europe citing firmer Asian markets, which steadily rose during the last weeks before cooling off a bit recently due to softer styrene costs in that region.

In Germany, a converter reported receiving €100/ton decreases from West European suppliers. He opined, “We expect trading activities to slow down in Germany and Belgium starting from next week as many companies are closing for summer holidays. However, we are currently operating at full rates due to good orders we received until the end of September. We believe PS prices will be rolled over next month and there could even be a reversal if Asian PS markets sustain their bullish momentum.” A distributor in France also said, “We applied €80/ton drops in July, while demand in France started to fade a bit given nearing holidays. August prices may remain unchanged given slack market conditions next month.”

In Italy, a distributor of a European PS supplier is closing his July deals with €100-110/ton decreases this week. He reported, “PS demand has started to calm down gradually, while the outlook for August-September mostly calls for rollovers depending on feedstock costs and global trends.” A manufacturer in the country said, “We purchased some cargoes for July with decreases of €90-100/ton to be covered in August when the market may stabilize. Our orders have been satisfactory given high season for food packaging. We will halt production for a few weeks soon.”

On another note, spot styrene costs followed a softening path both in Europe and Asia over the week in response to fluctuating crude oil markets. Spot styrene prices in both regions were down by around $25/ton in the period. Now that the lower upstream chain put a cap on rising PS prices in Asia, some players believe the August outlook for PS is rather cloudy in Europe.
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