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PS markets follow divergent paths in Asia and Europe

  • 07/05/2018 (04:05)
The recent upturn of Asia’s spot styrene market gave regional PS sellers renewed confidence to lift their prices last week while notional May offers emerged in Europe with decreases following the reduction of €40/ton in May styrene contracts.

In China and Southeast Asia, PS sellers applied some cost-driven hikes on their offers by pointing to higher spot styrene prices. Buyers, however, mostly remained cautious about building fresh stocks given the nearing low season as well as the volatility of styrene.

A source from a Chinese producer opined, “Styrene inventories have reduced inside China during the Labor Day holiday while several maintenance shutdowns in the May-June period are also supporting a firm outlook. We think that low inventories will exert further upward pressure on styrene and accordingly on PS prices.”

Spot styrene prices in Asia are up by $25-30/ton on a monthly basis while their weekly average is currently standing at its highest levels since early March, ChemOrbis Price Wizard data indicate.

A trader in Indonesia received $40-60/ton higher GPPS and HIPS offers from his South Korean supplier last week, saying, “Despite higher offers, the market is quiet as we are yet to receive any inquiries from our customers so far. Trading activities have slowed down given the approaching Ramadan.”

Meanwhile, in Europe, PS players started to hear notional May offers last week with decreases of €20-30/ton from April as the bearish trend extended into this month after the styrene contracts fully settled down €40/ton.

A West European producer announced its initial offers for May with €30/ton decreases over April. A trader commented, “Demand is still weak and supplies are ample. Plus, May is considered as a short month as there are several festivities in the region. We are still waiting for buyers’ feedback as they want to search the market further before making purchases.”
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