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PS buyers perplexed by dramatic increases across globe

  • 11/09/2017 (09:44)
PS prices across the global markets have been rallying over the past weeks, perplexing buyers who find the recent hikes to be unhealthily large. This has mostly pushed buyers to the sidelines. Meanwhile, sellers justify their persistently bullish pricing policies by pointing to strong styrene prices, which remain notably above early August levels both in Asia and Europe despite the recent downward corrections.

Data from from ChemOrbis Price Index show that the weekly average of import PS offers recorded cumulative hikes of around $165-175/ton in China and $235-255/ton in Southeast Asia in the past two weeks. Following these gains, both markets have reached their highest levels since late February.

A Southeast Asian producer lifted its PS offers by $140/ton from last week, saying, “We haven’t concluded any deals at our new levels yet as buyers adopt a cautious stance amidst surging prices.”

A Taiwanese producer noted, “We raised our offers by $50/ton to China and Southeast Asia, but buyers’ response has been quite weak so far as they are now closely monitoring the styrene market, which has recently been corrected downwards. We think that styrene will remain strong amidst outages at several plants in the US after Harvey as well as reducing supplies inside China.”

A similar panorama was observed in the Northwest European PS markets as regional producers are seeking hikes of up to €210/ton for September following the €190/ton higher styrene settlement. ChemOrbis Price Index data also indicate that the spot PS market has hit a 5 month-high on average. A compounder in Germany complained that he is not able to reflect the entire September hikes on their end product since their customers are not accepting the increases. “We are worried that the bullish trend may extend into October,” he said.

In Turkey, import PS prices on average basis have soared by around $240-245/ton when compared to the latest pre-Eid holiday levels as Asian producers approached the market with drastic increases of more than $200/ton for September.

An agent of an Indian PS producer said, “Our supplier cited the steep gains in spot styrene prices in Asia as the reason behind their decision. We think that supply concerns stemming from Hurricane Harvey also strengthened sellers’ firm stance. We have not achieved any deals so far, though.”

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the weekly average of import PS prices surged by $190-195/ton from a week earlier to reach their highest levels since mid-March, according to ChemOrbis Price Index. In the local market, E-Styrenics also announced its September GPPS offers with an increase of $70/ton from August.

A company source attributed their September hikes to higher styrene prices and the global upsurge, saying that they applied only relatively moderate increases considering the poor market conditions in Egypt as they need to comply with the global trend.
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