NWE Styrene – Prices rangebound amid quiet market activity

Chemical Industry

– Shell strike action delays operations

– New Solar Chemical set for maintenance

European spot styrene prices were rangebound Tuesday amid quiet market activity. Bids were heard at $1,090-$1,100/mt for April and May loading cargoes, but no deals were heard concluded. “The market is quiet today, let’s wait and see what happens,” a distributor said in relation to the fading buy interest following high volume trades on Tuesday. Market participants were closely monitoring the strike action at the Shell Moerdijk plant. “The action is inconvenient given the turnaround is next week. The intention by workers is to work at 50%. Vessels will be loaded but the business is slowing down,” the distributor said. China’s Changzhou New Solar Chemical will shut its 300,000 mt/year styrene monomer plant in Changzhou, Jiangsu, for 20-25 days of unplanned maintenance from next week. The plant, which produces styrene monomer via ethylbenzene, is estimated to require 237,000 mt/year of benzene. Sources noted that news of the plant shutting for maintenance has yet to influence prices while there might be short-term effect when it starts the maintenance on Thursday.

RATIONALE:

S&P Global  assessed styrene for loading 5-30 days forward at $1,100/mt FOB ARA Thursday, down $1/mt on the day. April was assessed at $1,101/mt, stable on the day, within the bid offer range at $1,090-1,110/mt. May was assessed at $1,099/mt, down $2/mt on the day, $1 below the offer at $1,100/mt and above the bid at $1,090/mt. The backwardation between April and May widened to $2/mt on Thursday.

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