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European PS set to firm back up in December after 2 months

by ChemOrbis Editorial Team -
  • 30/11/2017 (04:09)
In Europe, PS prices are readying to change direction following two months of decreases mainly due to the market expectations calling for a higher outcome in the next styrene contracts. December styrene contracts are expected to settle with double digit increases while larger increases are expected for January contracts.

Bullish expectations are stemming from the upcoming styrene maintenance season by the first quarter of 2018 at major suppliers across Europe including Repsol, Total and BASF .

As can be seen in the below graph generated by ChemOrbis Price Wizard, PS prices started to fall by late September on the back of sharp decreases in the spot styrene market, which resulted in large drops of €110/ton for October and €90/ton for November settlements in the contract market. Since then, GPPS prices in Italy posted cumulative decreases of around €220/ton while HIPS prices fell by €235/ton on average, data showed. In Northwest Europe, GPPS prices fell by around €205/ton while HIPS prices were €195/ton lower during the same period.

Recently, buying interest has picked up among players after players widely concurred that prices have bottomed. Improving demand has even urged some players to ask for additional quotas whereas they faced problems in finding material in some cases. A distributor from Switzerland noted, “We lowered our November prices by €90/ton. PS demand improved while supplies tightened in late November due to the increase expectations for December.”

An Italian distributor noted, “We expect at least €30-50/ton hikes in PS prices in December considering shrinking PS supplies and rising spot styrene prices.” Some players voiced expectations of larger increases of up to €70-80/ton in PS, pointing to reduced PS supplies in late November.

Although some players think that diminishing supplies and availability concerns for styrene monomer might support an upturn in the PS market next month, as was the exact case last year, others think that slow year-end demand will counterbalance or at least cushion the bullish factors including tightening supplies and possibly higher styrene contracts.

A buyer in Italy commented, “We purchased some spot cargoes when European producers did not provide us extra allocations for November in the GA market. Our end demand will slow down as December and January will be shorter months and it is likely to improve as of January 20-25.”
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