Europe benzene and styrene markets react to BASF Ludwigshafen fire

18 October 2016 13:21 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The European benzene and styrene spot markets have seen some movement following the fire at BASF’s site in Ludwigshafen, Germany on Monday and the closure of the steam crackers at the location, sources said on Tuesday.

“Benzene is going south,” said one source this morning. "Styrene is continuing to climb higher."

There was a flurry of benzene trading on Monday 17 October, with spot deals done at $668-675/tonne. Bids were at $655/tonne this morning while offers were at $675/tonne. November was slightly backwardated at $650-670/tonne.

Meanwhile, styrene was starting to gain further ground after already showing signs of upward momentum late last week. The fire at Westlake Chemical’s plant in Louisiana in the US as well as news of a styrene outage in Kuwait was pushing the market up by Friday 14 October.

The styrene market saw some upward movement late yesterday with deals done at $990/tonne and $1,000/tonne. There was also talk of a deal done at $1,010/tonne pending further confirmation. October continued to move higher this morning, with offers at $1,030/tonne.

BASF’s Ludwigshafen site has two steam crackers with a total capacity of 620,000 tonnes/year.

By Truong Mellor