17 January 2012 11:06 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European styrene prices moved up sharply on Tuesday amid firming crude and benzene values and talk of possible production issues, sources said, with numbers for January and February up by $40/tonne (€32/tonne).
After a relatively subdued Monday, with January styrene valued at $1,310–1,325/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam for most of the day, the bid/offer range opened firmer this morning at $1,335–1,355/tonne and there was an unconfirmed deal at $1,350/tonne.
February was also stronger, with a deal as high at $1,380/tonne late on Monday and unconfirmed reports of trades as high as $1,395/tonne on Tuesday morning.
Players were uncertain of what the key driver behind the upturn was. European benzene numbers pushed up this morning in line with sharp gains for WTI futures, and there was a January deal at $1,210/tonne, with some in the market speculating that styrene was merely chasing it upwards.
However, with benzene prices firming throughout January and styrene demand still sluggish, there was an expectation among some players that the industry may cut back operating rates as February approaches, with spot volumes being bought to cover as it would prove cheaper than producing styrene with rising benzene costs.
($1 = €0.79)
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