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Lower styrene, butadiene prices weigh down on Asian downstream markets

  • 14/03/2017 (03:30)
In Asia, spot styrene and butadiene prices have been following a declining trend for at least a month, dragged down by the weaker energy complex as well as the increased inventory levels, especially in China, given weak demand across the region. The trend defies firmer expectations due to turnarounds at styrene and butadiene plants in the region.

Since the beginning of the month, spot butadiene prices on FOB Korea basis have slumped by $900/ton while styrene prices witnessed a decline of $110/ton with the same terms during the same period.

Players saw recent declines as a correction after spot butadiene prices posted hefty hikes of $1560/ton between late November and mid-February while spot styrene prices had started to gear up in late December, following a firming trend that lasted until mid-February, according to weekly average prices on ChemOrbis Price Wizard.

Recently, the lower feedstock prices have mainly set the tone of the downstream ABS and PS markets in the region, pushing sellers to revise down their offers amidst poor buying appetite.

A Taiwanese producer reported that both GPPS and HIPS offers declined by $20-30/ton over the past week while additional discounts can be achieved on done deals.

A Southeast Asian producer revised its ABS prices downward to China by $50-100/ton from the previous week, citing weaker butadiene and styrene as well as high inventory levels in China as the main factors behind the price falls.

Another Taiwanese producer confirmed that the ABS and PS markets remained under downward pressure from weakening costs and buyers’ lack of appetite. “We expect butadiene prices to remain on a softening path in the near term while styrene prices may rebound given the maintenance season in Asia,” added a producer source.
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