EPCA '12: Europe styrene to be a “different ball game” in 2013

07 October 2012 10:28  [Source: ICIS news]

BUDAPEST (ICIS)--With more volume being taken out of the market and continued structural tightness on benzene, the European styrene market will be more challenging in 2013, a trader said on Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 46th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Budapest, Hungary, the trader said that Europe will be missing up to 30,000 tonnes a month because of derivative plants pulling material out of the region.

“Styrene will be a different ball game next year,” the trader said. “Egypt will be drawing material out for polystyrene. It will be harder to get product.”

While the closure of Switzerland-headquartered producer INEOS's polystyrene (PS) units in Marl, Germany could help redress the balance by easing some domestic demand, many in the market are sceptical of this as a solution to the current problem, as PS output has already been running at reduced rates for some time amid weakening demand.

“The market will have to rely more on imports from the US Gulf,” the trader explained. “Then you have delays or possible hurricanes, and everything gets thrown out of whack.”

However, given the volatility seen throughout 2012, aromatics players are generally wary of making any concrete predictions.

“A lot will depend on oil,” said another source. “If crude drops to something like $80/bbl [€62/bbl], then all bets are off.”

The annual EPCA meeting runs from 6-10 October.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214

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