SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot styrene monomer (SM) prices in Asia tumbled below $1,650/tonne on Monday amid a huge inventory build-up in the key China market over the Lunar New Year holidays, traders said.
On 7 February, SM prices were assessed at $1,655-1,670/tonne CFR (cost and freight) China, according to ICIS.
Inventories of spot cargoes along eastern China were estimated at 140,000-150,000 tonnes last week, up from 67,400 tonnes prior to the holidays.
China was on holiday on 31 January to 6 February for the Lunar New Year festivities.
“The sharp rise in inventories probably prompted players to liquidate some long positions”, said a Singapore-based broker.
In China, domestic SM prices declined to yuan (CNY) 11,200/tonne ($1,848/tonne) on Monday, down by 3.4% from the assessed prices on 7 February, dragging down the import prices, market sources said.
On 7 February, Chinese SM prices were assessed at CNY11,600/tonne ex-tank, according to Chemease, an ICIS service in China.
The key downstream expandable polystyrene (EPS) market in China has also remained in doldrums, with a number of facilities shut during the holidays.
In northern China, some shut EPS plants may see some delays in resuming operations because of inclement weather, industry sources said.
($1 = CNY6.06)