SE Asian PS buyers absent from the market
In the Philippines, a converter reported receiving offers for Taiwanese material at $1420-1430/ton CIF for GPPS and at $1490/ton for HIPS. He commented, “We are seeing good demand for our end products, but we are not planning to replenish as we have sufficient material in stock to cover our needs until the end of May. We believe that supply tightness will start to ease in early June as some of the styrene units that are currently shut will begin to restart in May.”
A distributor based in Malaysia stated, “Sharp rises in styrene costs have pushed PS prices higher. However, we feel that current price levels will prove unworkable in the medium term as the styrene market is likely to reach its peak soon.”
In Southeast Asia, import PS prices are currently reported at $1390-1450/ton for GPPS and at $1470-1490/ton for HIPS, all on a CIF SEA, cash equivalent basis. The ranges represent weekly increases of $20-60/ton for GPPS and $20-80/ton for HIPS.
In production news, Singapore’s TPSC will conduct a three-week shutdown at its 95,000 tons/year PS plant while the Philippines’ DFE Chemical was planning to shut its 30,000 tons/year plant at the end of March. South Korea’s Samsung Total Petrochemicals may shut its 280,000 tons/year No. 1 styrene unit at Daesan soon, according to market sources. Following the 45-day maintenance, the plant’s capacity will be raised to 400,000 tons/year. Plus, the company will shut its No.2 unit with 650,000 tons/year capacity at Daesan next week for a month or longer.
SK Global Chemical has kept its 350,000 tons/year styrene unit in Ulsan shut since August 2014 due to poor margins. Taiwan Styrene Monomer shut its 160,000 tons/year styrene plant in September last year on technical issues and delayed the restart until Q2 2015. LG Chem’s 180,000 tons/year styrene unit in Daesan has been offline since mid-March for a turnaround. The company will undergo maintenance at its 500,000 tons/year Yeosu plant in April as well. Also in South Korea, Lotte Chemical shut its 580,000 tons/year styrene plant on March 20 for maintenance.
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