Global styrene prices have seen a gradual increase in January after steadily declining for almost five months. With a slew of turnarounds lying just around the corner, spot styrene prices are likely to maintain upward momentum moving into February.
According to data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard shown below, styrene prices in Asia saw the biggest increase, jumping by more than 5% since late December. The improved demand in China ahead of the Lunar New Year, as well as a potential tightening in supply amid pending maintenance shutdowns in the region, supported the latest increases.
From February until the end of March, approximately 1.08 million tons/year of styrene capacity is expected to be offline in Asia.
Europe’s spot styrene market has been on a gradual uptrend since hitting a two-year low in early December, as data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard show above. Positive downstream demand has added to the upward pressure on spot prices while initial expectations for the February styrene contracts in Europe have been reported at around stable levels from last month, or with small increases.
In the US, spot styrene prices extended gains on a weekly basis after rebounding from their three-year lows earlier this month. The recent gains were attributed to higher global prices and the news that the US producer AmSty has begun a 45-day turnaround at its 935,000 tons/year styrene unit in St. James, Louisiana.
Despite the recent uptick, the weekly average data from ChemOrbis Price Wizard suggest that spot styrene prices on FOB Korea, FOB NWE and FOB USG basis are still 30% below the levels seen before the start of the downtrend in August last year.