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European styrene continues to climb up, Asia remains cautiously firm

by Başak Ceylan - bceylan@chemorbis.com
  • 12/03/2019 (15:08)
European spot styrene monomer prices remained on an uptrend that started at the beginning of this year Spot prices in Asia, meanwhile, stayed strong although the firm trend appears to have somewhat faltered.

In Europe, spot styrene prices’ upturn has recently found extra support from an unexpected outage at Dow’s facility in Bohlen, Germany. Market sources reported that the reduced benzene availability at the plant also affected a regional styrene plant.

European spot styrene nears 5-month high

The latest increase helped spot prices move up to their highest levels in almost five months. According to the ChemOrbis Price Wizard, the weekly average of spot prices on an FD NWE basis have jumped by more than 10% from the two-year low seen in December last year.

Meanwhile, the monthly styrene contract in Europe settled in line with expectations, which were for a substantial increase amid bullish spot prices. The March contract price for styrene now stands €60/ton above the February settlement.

Asian styrene faces opposite pressures

Styrene prices in Asia have been volatile since February, facing opposite pressures. The market is trying to retain its strength despite stumbling.

On the supply side, a slew of scheduled plant turnarounds across Asia have raised concerns among market players on potential constraints. According to Chemorbis PS Production News, approximately 2.62 million tons/year of styrene is expected to be taken offline in Asia this month, likely putting a solid floor below prices.

Firming supported by shutdowns and improved sentiment

The market sentiment also improved on several fiscal stimulus measures announced by the Chinese government. The firm sentiment was also attributed to a decline in styrene inventory in China last week.

How about ethylene’s consecutive falls?

However, the slumping ethylene prices in the region remains a pressure point over styrene, putting a cap on the firming and causing daily fluctuations.
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