Europe styrene steady for Dec despite upstream gains

29 November 2013 15:17  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Despite significant upward pressure coming from higher raw material costs, European styrene players do not expect any major upturn on the December barge contract settlement, sources said on Friday.

With the December ethylene contract agreed €30/tonne (€41/tonne) higher and an increase of over $100/tonne widely anticipated on the benzene settlement expected later on Friday, this would in theory support a sizable price hike on styrene for the upcoming month.

However, while benzene spot numbers have steadily gained ground in November, European styrene numbers have largely held steady in response to this, with demand seasonally weak and activity increasingly thin ahead of December and the holiday period.

“Styrene just couldn’t follow benzene upward,” one trader said earlier today. “There is no pressure for consumers to buy ahead of December, and sellers will keep material to sell in January when everyone restocks.”

Several planned shutdowns in Asia early in 2014 will also divert exports from the US to the region away from Europe, which could support higher numbers then.

There was talk on both sides of the market of a rollover from November or something close to it.

“The styrene market is flat at best, so I can’t see anything more than a rollover,” one consumer said. “We are getting to year-end; the second half of December will be very slack so I expect spot to drop.”

($1 = €0.74)

By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214

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