Europe March styrene barge contract confirmed at €1,047/tonne

03 March 2010 16:24  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The European styrene March barge contract has been confirmed at €1,047/tonne ($1,415/tonne), up €42-45/tonne from February, after the initial settlement received further support from a buyer and seller on Wednesday.

“We also agreed at €1,047/tonne,” the styrene purchaser said.

The buyer said negotiations had been difficult this month, with the market being plagued by production issues and volatile spot prices. “The direction is uncertain, and many players have different views on demand and supply,” he added.

Last week, Shell Chemicals had to declare force majeure on styrene out of its Moerdijk unit in the Netherlands, after cracker problems led to reduced ethylene supply.

It also became clear last week that another seller was suffering from a lack of material after refinery strikes had left the company with not enough feedstock.

Many sources said that exports to South America and Asia had further contributed to a tight European market.

Not all sources were happy with the outcome of the March negotiations.

A producer said the result was unsatisfying, considering prevailing market conditions and raw materials costs.

Meanwhile, the spot market was still volatile this week, with prices moving downward in line with weakening benzene values and sentiment in Asia.

On Tuesday, March deals were reported at $1,315-1,335/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam, but on Wednesday a March deal was done lower at $1,295/tonne. April was assessed in a $30/tonne backwardation.

The February barge contract had been agreed at €1,002-1,005/tonne, on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Madelon Ten Cate
+44 20 8652 3214



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