PS, ABS prices propelled by firmer styrene in Asia
Although demand has been subdued in Southeast Asia due to the Eid holidays and the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Chinese buyers have been more active following the Golden Week holiday.
Spot styrene hits 3-month high in Asia
In Asia, spot styrene prices on FOB Korea and CFR China basis have gained around 10% since early May to reach $1320/ton and $1340/ton respectively.
These marked the highest levels since February 2020 for both terms.
GPPS availability tighter than HIPS’
While market players agreed that sentiment in the PS market was propelled by firmer styrene, they also underlined the tighter supply condition for GPPS relative to HIPS and how it influenced their pricing.
A Taiwanese producer reported lifting both GPPS and HIPS offers to China and Southeast Asia on a weekly comparison, but a source said, “GPPS availability in the market is currently tighter and so prices are rising at a higher rate than for HIPS.”
During the week that ended on May 14, import prices of overall origins in China were assessed $50/ton higher from last week at $1500-1600/ton for GPPS injection and stable at $1860-1950/ton for HIPS injection ─ both on CIF China, cash basis.
In Southeast Asia, import PS injection prices were $20-30/ton higher at $1570-1670/ton for GPPS and stable at $1920-2030/ton for HIPS ─ both on CIF SEA, cash basis.
ABS hikes met with resistance
Buying activity in China has resumed following the Golden Week holidays, but at a slower pace than expected as resistance has crept in due to high ABS costs.
“With styrene surging to $1340/ton CFR China within a week, it is becoming a major concern for all ABS producers, as styrene monomer forms 55% of ABS production. Meanwhile the coronavirus pandemic and rising infection rates across Southeast Asian countries, as well as the ongoing Indian health crisis, all have depressed the recovery of downstream markets,” a trader said.
As for ABS, import prices of overall origins were assessed $10-20/ton higher during the week that ended on May 14 to stand at $2540-2650/ton CIF China and $2580-2680/ton CIF SEA.
Recent loss in oil tempers outlook
Although firm spot styrene prices and the prevailing tightness have continued to support sentiment in the PS and ABS markets, the sharp late-week correction in crude prices, with oil futures falling 3%, reflects greater oil volatility, making buyers skittish about the direction of future styrene and ABS prices.
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