ICIS provides extensive coverage of the Styrene market. Weekly reports are published in Asia, China, Europe and the US. ICIS publishes monthly margin reports for Asia, Europe and the US as well as 12-month rolling series reports. The margin reports include short-term and long-term market analysis.
Weekly reports cover contract and spot assessments over the week and at the close of business on Friday. Our locally based expert reporters use market intelligence to give commentary on deals, international trade, production news, supply and demand trends, as well as upstream and downstream developments. The up-to-date source of information is a reliable and vital tool in the decision-making process for your business.
Updated to Q4 2019
Asian styrene supply gradually decreased in the fourth quarter of 2019 amid some production cuts and squeezed margins. However, most producers still maintained high run rates since average margins for 2019 were still positive – putting a limit on supply decreases. The availability of deep-sea origin product as some traders needed to clear their inventories before the year-end.
Import demand from China was not particularly strong, owing to squeezed margins for back-to-back distribution business and expectations of new start-ups in early 2020. Buyers were mostly at the sidelines. However, activity from northeast Asia increased slightly as some end-users sought to cover their requirements as contractual discussions were not concluded until the last week of December 2019.
Styrene prices in Europe softened in the fourth quarter of 2019 to a low last seen in January 2015, amid falling end-of-year demand and high inventories. Prices had dropped by more than $100/tonne in the space of a few weeks, and margins against benzene became incredibly squeezed. Imports into Europe – mostly from the US – were amounting to around 40,000-60,000 tonnes per month, and supply length was pronounced despite delayed restarts and an unplanned outage.
European styrene demand suffered through most of 2019 and weakened further in the fourth quarter of the year, on macroeconomic fragility and end-of-year destocking measures. Spot liquidity has thinned, with more transactions being done on a contractual or under-the-radar basis. Uncertainty blighted consumer confidence, while excessive length despite production blips and the subsequent plunge in prices to 2015-lows highlighted the volume of imports coming in and the extent of the weak demand.
Supply of US styrene was steady in the fourth quarter, even as Shell took its plant in Scotford, Alberta, Canada down for planned maintenance at the beginning of the quarter. The plant accounts for almost 9% of North American capacity, but the outage did not affect supply as the company has supply agreements with other producers to fulfil its commitments. Softer demand, especially from derivative polystyrene (PS), also lessened the effects of reduced supply.
Demand for styrene in the fourth quarter was soft, unchanged from the third quarter, as downstream demand for polystyrene (PS) continued to be lacklustre. About two-thirds of styrene demand comes from polystyrene (PS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS), both of which saw soft demand. Demand for US styrene for export remained strong in the quarter, continuing a trend seen throughout 2019. US October exports rose by 11% year on year and total exports are up by 42% year to date.
We offer the following regional Styrene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Styrene marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Styrene
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Styrene
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Other types of reports we cover for Styrene
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News & analysis
News & Analysis – News & market analysis specifically relating to Styrene
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets. Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
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Styrene is mainly used in the manufacture of homopolymers and copolymers. Its predominant use is in polystyrene (PS)
This document is intended to provide methodology support for customers receiving the ICIS Weekly Margin – Styrene Asia report.
This document is intended to provide methodology support for customers receiving the ICIS Weekly Margin – Styrene Europe report
Ethane (or naphtha) with steam is fed into the cracker unit where ethylene and co-products (propylene, butadiene, benzene, etc.) are made. The ethylene and benzene from the cracker are then further processed (catalytic alkylation) to make ethylbenzene.
Pure styrene is a colourless to yellow, oily liquid that evaporates easily and has a sweet smell. Styrene is highly flammable, forms explosive mixtures in air, is dangerous when exposed to flame, heat or oxidants and on decomposition, emits acrid fumes.
Styrene is mainly used in the manufacture of homopolymers and copolymers. These include polystyrene (PS), expandable polystyrene (EPS), styrene copolymers (such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resins, styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) and styrene-butadiene latexes), styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) and unsaturated polyester resins.
Styrene is produced predominately by ethylbenzene (EB)-based technology. EB is first made by the catalytic alkylation of benzene with ethylene and then dehydrogenated to styrene. The coproduction of styrene with propylene oxide (PO) by the PO/SM process had been gaining popularity.
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