28 May 2013 12:27 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European styrene spot numbers have started to edge up, sources said on Tuesday, following continued technical problems at Shell’s styrene monomer plant at Moerdijk in the Netherlands.
The company had declared force majeure on styrene on May 17, adding that no impact was expected on its May deliveries to customers. There was no confirmation from Shell about any further developments regarding its styrene plant this week.
European spot numbers moved up above $1,700/tonne (€1,309/tonne) last week, with several industry players active in the market, a pattern that has repeated itself throughout May.
Deals were done for June delivery as high as $1,720/tonne on an FOB (free on board) basis before producers backed away from the market towards the end of the week. Spot values subsequently came back down, with June trading later in the week at $1,660/tonne.
June spot values opened at $1,660-1,685/tonne FOB Rotterdam this morning, but quickly moved up amid some buying interest in the market. There was an unconfirmed deal done for June at $1,683/tonne, and bids for June were later heard at $1,685/tonne and $1,690/tonne.
Fundamentally, however, many sources argue that styrenics demand continues to struggle with a weak macroeconomic environment.
“From March to May, the distribution market has been slow,” said one trader. “There was some activity between producers on an FOB basis, but truck business was minimal.
“June will be crunch time for styrene. July and August will see extended summer holidays, so the market really has to pick up next month.”
($1 = €0.77)
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