Styrene demand to grow 2.8% worldwide through 2020: exec

20 June 2013 21:55  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Global styrene demand will grow by 2.8% through 2020, with China and northeast Asia leading the way, an executive with Germany-based Styrolution said on Thursday.

Styrene demand from China will increase 4.6% through 2020, while demand from northeast Asia will rise by 3.2%, said Steve Harrington, president of Styrolution America’s Styrene Global Business Unit. He made his comments at the ICIS US Aromatics and Derivatives Conference.

Dragging on global styrene demand will be Europe, where demand will fall -0.1% by 2020, he said. North American demand will only increase 0.5% during that time, he added.

Within the 2.8% global growth rate, demand for expandable polystyrene (EPS) will increase 4.3% and will be “cannibalising" polystyrene (PS) demand, which will only grow in demand by less than 2%, Harrington said.

Operating rates for styrene plants will cross the 90% level by 2016 and will approach 95% by 2020, he said.

Despite increased demand and higher operating rates, Harrington said he does not see additional capacity for styrene being built for several years, citing styrene’s volatile pricing history and the length of time it takes to plan and build new plants.

“It’s a brave person, given the history of styrene, to invest a billion dollars in increasing capacity,” he said.

The ICIS US Aromatics and Derivatives Conference concluded on Thursday.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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