Europe benzene and styrene prices surge on short coverings

11 September 2012 17:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European spot benzene and styrene prices continued to climb at a rapid pace on Tuesday, sources said.

September benzene spot prices were valued in a $1,520-1,600/tonne (€1,186-2,051/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance, freight) ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp) price range and September benzene traded at $1,500/tonne.

This marks an increase of $175-180/tonne above the close for September benzene on Friday 7 September.

In the styrene market, the price range for September was at $1,750-1,800/tonne FOB (free on board) Rotterdam, which is $115-165/tonne above the previous week’s market close.

Both markets are tight and the increases are largely driven by traders and consumers covering short positions.

“Benzene is very tight and everybody is short, August demand took the market by surprise,” said one trader.

Regarding the styrene price development, a trader in that market said: “The sky’s the limit for styrene.”

A second styrene trader described the market as “stuck” because there was no material to sell.

No all market participants were being scooped up by the rally in numbers.

One major styrene buyer said it would “sit out the storm”.

“I hear over $1,700 has been done. Someone somewhere is very short, I imagine a big producer -  Shell, Total, Styron, or Styrolution,” the buyer concluded.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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