– Styrene inventory rises 12,000 mt on the week
– Sinopec drops domestic BZ price by Yuan 150/mt
Asian styrene monomer fell $6/mt on the day at $1,077/mt CFR China and $1,037/mt FOB Korea Thursday. In the East China domestic market, prices fell to a greater extent towards the end of the day. The April market fell Yuan 70/mt on the day to Yuan 8,530/mt ex-tank Thursday. A market source attributed the weaker prices to the rise in inventory and fall in Sinopec’s listed price for domestic East China benzene, one of the feedstock for styrene production. According to market sources, styrene inventory in east China increased 12,000 mt week on week to 357,500 mt Thursday, as arrivals of 31,000 mt outstripped consumption of 19,000 mt. “Inventory data finally showed a decline in stockpiles level last week, which raised optimism in the market as it could imply the start of inventory easing, but it’s only for a week before we see an increase in inventory again,” a downstream producer said. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, a major Chinese benzene producer reduced its domestic ex-tank price by Yuan 150/mt, a company source said Thursday. The listed price for domestic East China benzene was revised to Yuan 4,800/mt from Yuan 4,950/mt. The new listed price equates to approximately $604.34/mt on an import parity basis, based on an exchange rate of 6.7128. The downward price revision did not come as a surprise to the market, with prompt domestic East China prices having fallen Yuan 250/mt since the last time Sinopec had revised its listed price on February 21. In downstream plant news, Taiwan’s major acrylonitrile butadiene styrene maker, Chi Mei, will expand its ABS capacity by 600,000 mt/year by Q1 2021, a company source confirmed Thursday. The new plant will be in Fujian province in Zhangzhou City, and will be in the Zhangzhou Gulei Petrochemical Industrial Park. The new capacity will come on line in two phases. Phase one will have 450,000 mt/year of ABS come on line, and is targeted for Q4 2020, the source said, with the rest of the capacity to come on line by Q1 2021. In the downstream markets, ABS increased $15-$25/mt on the week to $1,550/mt CFR China and $1,570/mt CFR Southeast Asia, general purpose polystyrene rose $10/mt to $1,280/mt CFR China and $1,310/mt CFR Southeast Asia, high-impact polystyrene increased $15-20/mt to $1,345/mt CFR China and $1,370/mt CFR Southeast Asia.
Asian SM was assessed down $6/mt on the day at $1,077/mt CFR China and $1,037/mt FOB Korea Thursday. The CFR China and FOB Korea SM markers currently take the average of the H1 and H2 April laycans. There were no transparent bids and offers during the Market on Close assessment process on Thursday. H1 and H2 April were assessed at $1,077/mt CFR China, tracking weaker sentiments in the East China domestic market in the afternoon, and below the best offer heard at $1,085/mt with no bid heard. In the East China domestic market, the April marker was assessed at Yuan 8,530/mt ex-tank Thursday, down Yuan 70/mt on the day. On an import parity basis, this is approximately $1,074.18/mt. FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,037/mt Thursday, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,065/mt Thursday, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.