Europe July styrene barge agreed up €82/tonne at €1,442/tonne

01 July 2014 11:29 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The European styrene barge contract for July has been agreed at €1,442/tonne, up €82/tonne from last month, several sources confirmed on Tuesday.

The contract price was agreed on a free on board (FOB) Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) basis.

An increase had been expected given the sharp gains seen for feedstocks this month, with benzene up by €99/tonne while ethylene saw an increase of €50/tonne.

However, weak sentiment in the European spot market capped any upward movement.

According to one of the consumers involved, the €82/tonne increase is “below the raw material cost move of €94/tonne, reflecting the ample spot styrene market and the relatively soft demand expectations for July.”

European styrene spot levels have failed to keep pace with the upstream benzene market in June, with ample availability and subdued demand from key derivative sectors.

Another consumer confirmed that it had followed the settlement at €1,442/tonne, but expressed reservations about the number.

“I think the derivative market is weak and that consumers will take an opportunity for an early holiday,” the consumer said.

“This is a very high number, and demand will suffer badly,” one trader added.

However, with pricing in Asia starting to edge higher, there is a sense among other players that some recovery could be on the horizon in Europe as the third quarter unfolds.

Prices in Asia hit $1,650/tonne CFR (cost and freight) China last week, supported by a benzene market which hit a 16-month high, although Chinese styrene inventories remain ample. Nevertheless, demand for styrenic resins in the third quarter is expected to improve as manufacturing activity picks up.

By Truong Mellor