Europe styrene spot numbers see surprise midweek upturn

21 August 2013 11:43 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European styrene spot numbers have seen a sharp upturn, sources said on Wednesday, with some illiquidity for prompt material helping push price ideas higher for both August and September.

Offers for August material have been steady at around the $1,740/tonne (€1,305/tonne) level this week, with deals done at $1,740/tonne and $1,730/tonne amid some tightness for prompt cargo. Derivative market sentiment remains weak, however, with buyers largely unwilling to step into the market, particularly now that the bull run in Asia appears to be easing off.

This helped pulled the bid level down to $1,710/tonne by the end of Tuesday 20 August. However, the market opened this morning with bids moving up to $1,730-1,740/tonne and no firm offers, a sharp reversal of the previous day’s trading.

“After yesterday, that is quite a turnaround,” said one trader. “It is very weird.”

While there had been a growing sense among traders last week that the European market could start to tighten ahead of September due to a lack of imports arriving from the US, the sudden upturn this morning was still a surprise for players.

There were several theories being floated this morning regarding the midweek bullishness: one player noted the upcoming lock strike in Germany from 9-23 September could be driving consumers to lift material earlier, which in turn could be pushing prompt pricing higher. There was also some talk of possible new production problems in Europe, although nothing has been confirmed so far.

($1 = €0.75)

By Truong Mellor