Most US May styrene contracts roll over on feedstocks

07 June 2012 20:53  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Most US May styrene contracts rolled over from April levels of 70.00-74.00 cents/lb ($1,543-1,631/tonne, €1,234-1,305/tonne), based on volatile feedstock benzene and ethylene prices, sources said on Thursday.

Some trade participants reported increases of 1.00-1.50 cents/lb, while others have said they have settled down by a similar amount.

Produces had announced prices increases of 1.00-2.00 cents/lb in late April, when benzene prices were around $4.20/gal ($1,257/tonne, €1,006/tonne) FOB (free on board).

However, benzene prices moved down to the $3.80-3.84/gal level in May, putting downward pressure on the styrene market.

Benzene prices this week have since rebounded to $4.24-4.26/gal FOB on the back of tight June inventory positions.

Meanwhile, US spot ethylene prices have come down and also pressured the styrene market lower. The losses stem from looser supply, weak demand and sharply lower ethane prices, which reached their lowest levels in nearly 10 years.

Spot ethylene bids and offers were at 40.50-43.50 cents/lb DEL (delivered), down from transactions of 63-63.25 cents/lb for the first week of May.

One producer said it settled some May styrene contracts in early May at increases, but some contracts settled lower by early June.

Additional May styrene settlements are still pending.

Producers have not issued any contract nominations for June styrene, which trade sources have said should move lower, reflecting weaker benzene and ethylene contracts and weak spot prices.

Major North American styrene producers include Shell Canada, Styrolution, Americas Styrenics and Total.

Additional reporting by William Lemos

($1 = €0.80)

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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