EPCA ’13: US Q4 styrene demand outlook mixed on turnarounds

06 October 2013 16:01  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--US styrene market sentiment for the fourth quarter is mixed in regards to turnarounds which will run through November, according to market players on the sidelines of the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

However, a US aromatics trader commented this week that styrene demand could improve in November and December, as Styrolution begins a two-month turnaround at its Texas City plant in Texas, US.

Styrolution said back in September it would commence a planned 65-day outage at its Texas City styrene monomer (SM) facility, starting in early November, the styrene producer said on Thursday.

The Texas City facility has a styrene production capacity of 485,000 tonnes/year.

The Styrolution turnaround follows SABIC and Total Petrochemicals’ joint venture Cosmar’s reported turnaround at its styrene unit in Carville, Louisiana, in October.

The Carville facility has a styrene production capacity of 1.1m tonnes/year, as well as a polystyrene (PS) capacity of 658,000 tonnes/year.

US trade sources said on the sidelines of the EPCA meeting today that a short-term spike in demand may be wishful thinking, as consumers have not had any issues yet in sourcing material.

Styrene demand can typically pick up from Asia in September and October, ahead of the winter holiday retail shopping season.

However, the US styrene market has been lacklustre for much of the year, on the back of weak domestic and overseas demand.

In addition, styrene spot prices have fallen in the past three weeks, following the downtrend in the feedstock benzene market.

The annual EPCA meeting runs from 5-9 October.

By: Brian Balboa
+1 713 525 2653

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