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PS markets plunge to 3-year low in China, SEA

by Manolya Tufan - mtufan@chemorbis.com
  • 16/08/2019 (04:15)
Import PS prices in China and Southeast Asia have been on a downward trajectory since early July amid thin buying appetite and lower feedstock costs. Mounting trade tensions exacerbated cautiousness in the market and sent prices to 3-year lows on a weekly average, according to ChemOrbis Price Index.

Spot styrene lost around 5% in two weeks

According to ChemOrbis Price Wizard, spot prices dropped by around $50-55/ton in the past two weeks to be quoted at $965/ton FOB Korea and at $1005/ton CFR China on a weekly average.

Data also suggest that the weekly average of spot styrene prices on an FOB Korea basis hit a year-to-date low while prices on CFR China basis has recently hit their lowest levels since December 2018.

This was attributed to the volatility of crude oil prices amid trade threats, concerns over energy demand as well as an increase in US crude stocks.

Import GPPS breaks below $1150 in China, $1200 in SEA

According to the weekly average data from ChemOrbis Price Index, import GPPS prices in China moved below the $1150/ton CIF China threshold recently. Similarly, import GPPS prices in Southeast Asia moved below $1200/ton on CIF SEA basis.

Data also unveil that import GPPS and HIPS prices both in China and Southeast Asia hit their lowest levels not seen since February-October 2016 on a weekly average.

Tumbling Yuan slashes demand for imports

The devaluation of the yuan also contributed to the waning demand for import PS cargos in China.

Chinese yuan dropped to its weakest level against the US dollar in more than a decade earlier in August.

Local PS lowest since June 2016 in China

Inside China, meanwhile, local PS offers also retreated to their lowest levels since June 2016 on a weekly average.

Price falls have failed to stir buying appetite as prices are believed to have further room to decrease amid lower costs and cautious stance created by the re-escalation of trade tensions. Buyers are shying away from building stocks to avoid currency fluctuations, moreover.

PS markets in SEA dominated by weak China

Not only weaker costs but also the downtrend in Chinese markets keeps the sentiment in Southeast Asia under pressure. Buyers are sticking to the sidelines amid mounting trade war concerns and expectations to see further drops in the days to come.

“PS demand should normally pick up by now ahead of the high season. However, buyers are away from the market as they foresee a mostly softer trend,” a regional trader affirmed.
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