EU styrene exports drop in December 2013: Eurostat

19 February 2014 13:21 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Exports of styrene out of the EU dropped 61% in December 2013 compared to the same period of the previous year, data from European statistics agency Eurostat showed on Wednesday.

Imports into the EU were also down year-on-year during this same period, but at less than 3,000 tonnes lower the volumes involved were negligible.

The steep drop in exports in December 2013 is largely a reflection of styrene market fundamentals in late 2012, with a weak spread over benzene and slow derivative demand making exports to other regions a more attractive proposition.

The Asian market was bullish at the time, supporting export margins out of the EU in December 2012.

Yearly figures for European styrene from 2012 to 2013 saw a 6% increase reported for both imports and exports.

"Imports are up as a balance," said one major styrene consumer. "The turnaround season in early 2013 could account for a lot of this."

With growing derivative demand and less production capacity, the consumer added that it expects to see Europe's net import position to keep moving up in the coming years, especially if styrene output from the PO/SM (propylene oxide/styrene monomer) route remains weak.

EU styrene import/export data from Eurostat (units: tonnes)

Period

Import

Export

Dec 2012

23,666

45,108

Dec 2013

20,825

17,515

% change year on year

-12%

-61%

 

Period

Import

Export

2012

490,057

188,464

2013

518,160

200,700

% change year on year

6%

6%

Eurostat import/export data is subject to revision as more detailed information becomes available.

By Truong Mellor