(adds 22 September morning bids and offers)
LONDON (ICIS)--Europe remains the lowest-priced global region for styrene, alongside ample prompt availability and sluggish downstream demand, sources said on Thursday.
After trading last week at $960/tonne FOB (free on board), September spot levels have eased further this week. Bids for September dropped as low as $935/tonne on Wednesday 21 September before recovering to $945/tonne, while offers were holding at $950/tonne.
September was relatively steady overall this morning, with bids at $935-940/tonne while offers were at $955/tonne. The market remained in contango with October valued at $950-970/tonne.
US styrene prices saw some upward movement in August into September on the back of some production problems and higher benzene costs. Asian styrene numbers have begun to ease in September, but the region remains comfortably stronger than Europe.
The forward market remains in contango, with October valued around the $960/tonne mark yesterday and November bids and offers at $950-980/tonne.
“[There is] too much product around,” said one European trader.
Following a significant drop in imports into the EU during the first half of 2016, July saw an increase amid balanced regional supply levels. A stronger export market to Asia also emerged.
Derivative consumption slowed down in August, which had been anticipated due to the traditional summer lull in activity. However, the expected upturn in consumption this month has proven to be muted.
A healthy benzene/styrene spread this month is also keeping styrene production levels strong, although many styrene players in Europe feel that the current margin is at its floor.