29 October 2013 20:44 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Styrene has become a key contributor to LyondellBasell’s profit margins over the last two quarters, the global producer’s CEO said on Tuesday.
“It's very seldom that we have a couple of quarters in a row of nice styrene earnings,” CEO Jim Gallogly said in a Q3 earnings conference call. “And what some of the people are actually beginning to say that supply and demand are pretty balanced.”
An outage or turnaround could increase the profitability of styrene for US producers, Gallogly said.
“You don't see a lot of new capacity coming on, so overall, we think that's a commodity that we're going to see more profitability from,” he said. “Is it a long-term trend? I don't know, but we have a couple of quarters of nice results, and it's feeling better.”
The gap between US spot styrene prices and feedstock benzene are about $300/tonne (€216/tonne) apart currently compared with a $150/tonne margin in January.
Meanwhile, US styrene contract prices for September were assessed by ICIS at 80.25-84.25 cents/lb ($1,769-1,857/tonne) FOB (free on board), while US benzene contract prices for October were assessed at $4.37/gal ($1,308/tonne).
Additional reporting by Brian Balboa
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