Europe spot styrene prices jump on unexpected strong demand

23 August 2012 16:52  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European spot styrene price ideas rose dramatically this week amid reports that industry has been buying spot volumes because of unexpected strong demand for polymers in August, sources said on Thursday.

Lats week, September spot styrene traded in a $1,565-1,585/tonne (€1,252-1,268/tonne) price range, while the highest spot deal recorded for September this week was $1,610/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam.

As traders went out with their nominations, September styrene offers moved up to $1,690/tonne.

“I bought a few [tonnes of styrene] on Wednesday and maybe the traders nominated it today,” a major producer said.

The producer purchased its styrene cargoes at $1,595-1,610/tonne and confirmed that its downstream demand was better than expected for August.

“All industry has been there [buying] this week. Polymer demand has been good and this has continued in August. Production rates have been reduced because margins are poor and there has been maintenance in Antwerp,” the producer said.

Although demand in Asia is weak, compared with the US where styrene is tight, there are a few imports coming to Europe which is keeping the European styrene market in a tight position.

“This demand is very unusual in August and we’ve even had demand from Spain and Italy,” a styrene trader said about the current level of demand.

A second trader, who was active this week and sold styrene for October delivery at $1,525/tonne, said its demand was better in August than originally thought.

“Demand is better in August than players thought,” the trader said.

The trader quoted September styrene in a bid/offer range of $1,630-1,660/tonne.

For September contracts, a producer said it expected a settlement to start; “with a one and a four”.

“We’ve not seen a seasonal dip and we are in new pricing territory and the market will need to get used to these high contract prices,” he added.

The August styrene barge contract settled at €1,367/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

($1 = €0.80)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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