27 April 2011 06:25 [Source: ICIS news]
By Amanda Zhang
SM prices were assessed at yuan (CNY) 11,300-11,350/tonne ($1,731-1,738/tonne)
Production was hampered after the Ministry of Public Security imposed restrictions in the middle of March for better fire-proof construction materials, effectively banning the use of EPS, which is SM's largest downstream market in
However, EPS makers successfully lobbied the government in April to lift its ban on the material and allow the use of block flame retardant EPS of better quality instead.
“The authorities now allow EPS resins to be used in building construction in certain regions in eastern and northern
Areas in northern
“We are eager to purchase SM to keep up production because there are considerable profits at present,” an EPS producer said.
Recent turnarounds at major SM production facilities have led to a supply crunch and exerted upward pressure on prices, market sources said.
Qilu Petrochemical shut its 200,000 tonne/year SM unit at
Although Qilu and Shandong Yuhuang have restarted their plants, most of the output is for previously contracted cargoes, with limited supply left for the spot market, the sources added.
Leading producer Tianjin Dagu is operating its 500,000 tonne/year SM unit in
Tianjin Dagu has a new 100,000 tonne/year EPS plant that is expected to start up in the middle of May, as well as a new acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) plant with two lines, each with a capacity of 200,000 tonnes/year.
One of the lines is operating at a 70% rate, while the other is expected to start up in the second half of the year, the source added.
Despite the impending start-up of
Apart from plugging the shortage of SM supply, a large amount of SM cargoes at
“Sales in eastern
The demand for SM will remain robust in the north, as several downstream ABS, EPS and polystyrene (PS) producers are planning to build facilities there in the second half of the year, industry sources said.
Jiangsu Garson Chemical Industry is expected to start up its new 120,000 tonne/year EPS plant at Dalian city in late May.
Meanwhile, Tianjin Rentai Chemical is building a 400,000 tonne/year PS plant at Tianjin city, and the company plans to start the first phase of production at 140,000 tonnes/year in August.
Major SM producers in China include BP-Secco Petrochemical, CNOOC-Shell Petrochemical and Leasty Chemicals.
Styrene monomer is most commonly used in the production of styrene homopolymers and copolymers, which are either solid or expandable.
Around half of global styrene consumption is used to make PS, which is used mainly for packaging applications such as containers, closures, lids and vending cups. The remaining markets where styrene is used include construction; electrical and electronic parts; domestic appliances and housings; household goods and home furnishings; and toys, sporting goods and recreational articles.
Additional reporting by Echo Chen
($1 = CNY6.53)
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