– Consumption picks up slower than expectation
– ABS held stable, GPPS/HIPS rises $10/mt
Asian styrene monomer slid $30/mt on the day to a two-month low of $1,042.50/mt CFR China and $1,002.50/mt FOB Korea Thursday as consumption has been picking up much slower than market expectation. This is the largest day-on-day decline in approximately four months. Further, feedstock benzene CFR China decreased by $12/mt on the day to $591.50/mt Thursday as Sinopec, a major Chinese benzene producer, has cut its domestic ex-tank benzene price by Yuan 150/mt to Yuan 4,650/mt. In the east China domestic market, prices fell throughout the day with the prompt marker down Yuan 200/mt on the day at Yuan 8,070/mt ex-tank Thursday. According to market sources, styrene inventory in east China fell 28,500 mt on the week at 325,000 mt, where consumption of 35,500 mt outstripped arrivals of 7,000 mt. Despite the week-on-week decline, sources said that total inventory remains considerably high and consumption has been weaker than expected, leading to bearishness in the market. “Market has been concerned about the record high styrene inventory in east China and all eyes have been on the week-on-week change. Persistently high inventory and slow demand recovery have eventually led to a crash in prices,” a market source said. Sources further noted that SM buying sentiments will likely be affected as prices softened. In trade statistics news, Thailand’s styrene imports increased 159.9% on the month, or 1,794.9% on the year, to 11,540 mt in February. In related downstream markets, week on week, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene were unchanged at $1,560/mt CFR China and $1,580/mt CFR Southeast Asia, general purpose polystyrene rose $10/mt to $1,290/mt CFR China and $1,320/mt CFR Southeast Asia while high-impact polystyrene increased $10/mt to $1,345/mt CFR China and $1,370/mt CFR Southeast Asia Thursday.
Asian SM was assessed down $30/mt on the day at $1,042.50/mt CFR China and $1,002.50/mt FOB Korea Thursday. The markers currently take the average of the H2 April and H1 May laycans. There were no transparent bids or offers during the Thursday Market on Close assessment process on Thursday. H1 May was assessed at $1,044/mt CFR China, between the best bid heard at $1,040/mt against the best offer heard at $1,045/mt. Maintaining the pegged April/May spread of minus $3/mt, H2 April was assessed at $1,041/mt CFR China, below a normalized any April offer heard at $1,040/mt. The any April offer is restrictive as half-month delivery laycan declaration has already passed. In the East China domestic market, the prompt marker was assessed down Yuan 200/mt on the day at Yuan 8,070/mt ex-tank, equating to $1,015.85/mt on an import parity basis. The FOB Korea marker was assessed at $1,002.50/mt, based on the pegged $40/mt spread to CFR China, while the CFR Taiwan marker was assessed at $1,030.50/mt, based on the pegged $12/mt spread to CFR China.