Europe styrene spot surges, fresh logistics issues occur in upper Rhine

24 January 2018 12:12 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Europe styrene spot numbers continued on an uptrend this week recording significant increases compared with the week before, although players seem puzzled when trying to explain the main drivers behind this upward push.

Pictured: The River Rhine in Cologne, Germany Source: WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock

Since Monday, January bids and offers have been hovering around $1,410-1,500/tonne, while February is valued on a rather similar level at $1,420-1,500/tonne.

So far this week, January has traded as high as $1,470/tonne, although values looked softer on Wednesday morning.

The status of the US market is probably one of the reasons that is currently putting pressure onto European numbers.

Styrolution’s unit in Bayport, Texas,  has been under planned maintenance for two weeks now, but there seem to be other production issues that have occurred because of severe cold weather in the US.

Consequently, a few European traders had some vessels cancelled or sold into the US market itself as they could not reach Europe.

Still, fundamentals in the European market do not justify the very high levels players have witnessed in the past couple of days as tanks appear to be full, while volumes are probably already allocated.

Producers have been running at full rates amid preparation for the domestic turnaround season that will get fully underway next month.

On the demand side, volumes are seasonally on a good level, but not as booming as they were a few months ago.

Meanwhile, high water levels in parts of the upper Rhine seem to have caused fresh logistics problems in the European aromatics markets as shipping is said to be currently blocked.

According to sources, barges cannot leave the area earlier than Thursday this week.

By Vasiliki Parapouli