China SM import prices tumble on weak demand in first half of May

10 May 2012 14:10  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China styrene monomer (SM) import prices are expected to continue to drop from their current levels as downstream demand remains weak in the first half of May, industry sources said on Thursday.

China SM import prices decreased by 2.83% from 4 May to $1,450–1,465/tonne CFR China on 9 May, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.

SM import prices in eastern China may continue to fall as spot cargoes are still in ample supply in the short term and downstream demand is unlikely to recover soon, according to a trader.

It is currently the peak demand season for downstream sectors such as unsaturated polyester resin (UPR) and expandable polystyrene (EPS). However, EPS producers said they were unwilling to purchase spot SM import cargoes as their operating rates are not high enough.

The gap between naphtha and SM continued to widen as a result of sinking energy prices. Some traders were worried that SM would drop in line with the naphtha values.

($1 = CNY6.30)

By: Lily Zhang

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