LONDON (ICIS)--The European styrene spot market saw limited purchasing interest this week compared with the week before, when trading activity was a lot more evident, sources said on Friday.
Spot prices moved slightly lower this week, which met with some players' expectations, and they also expect that numbers will go even lower as July approaches.
One of the reasons could be the downward trend of crude oil and benzene prices, which players are curious to see if it will persist, one of them said.
The spread between benzene and styrene is almost at $300/tonne and this could be considered healthy, it added.
Another reason for a possible drop in Europe styrene prices could be the arrival of some imported volumes towards the beginning of July, as there is quite a big offer of cargoes.
A buyer said that imports are not significant at the moment as even the regular importers have not been bringing material into Europe.
However, another industry player said that there are volumes arriving next week and the week after.
Meanwhile, demand remains on a satisfactory level with the downstream expandable polystyrene (EPS) market still among the key drivers as it has benefited by the supply shortages in the polyurethane industry.
Polystyrene (PS) demand is also on a good level, although not as strong as EPS, but it does not resemble at all the difficult months of the first quarter of the year.
Sources in distribution said that contrary to a relatively quiet bulk market this week, distribution has been rather busy with many big customers steadily asking for volumes.
Distribution prices were at €1,040-1,060/tonne on a free carrier (FCS) basis this week.