PS suppliers unresponsive to styrene’s recovery in China
Sept. 25, 2018
In China, both import and local PS markets witnessed stable to softer pricing for another week despite the slight recovery in spot styrene prices. This was mainly due to tepid demand in the midst of the third round of the mounting US-China trade tension.
The overall ranges for import PS prices were reported stable from last week at $1500-1600/ton for GPPS inj. and at $1560-1650/ton for HIPS inj., all on CIF, cash basis. Offering on this week’s high end, a Thai producer kept its PS offers to the country stable for the second week in a row. A Southeast Asian producer reported that their GPPS inj. offers were $10/ton lower from three weeks ago at $1540/ton CIF. A company source noted, “Chinese buyers are placing bids below the $1500/ton threshold, which we are not willing to accept.”
A source from a Taiwanese producer reported cutting their PS prices by $40-60/ton from last week and commented, “We were expecting to see an improvement in demand given the upcoming festival and the week-long holiday. However, buying activity is still weak as players prefer to remain cautious in order to avoid parity risks.” Meanwhile, a second Taiwanese producer, whose offers traditionally stand above the prevailing market levels, elected to keep its offers stable at $1610/ton for GPPS inj. and at $1680/ton for HIPS inj. and these levels were not included in the index.
Inside China, HIPS inj. prices were mostly unchanged when compared to last week while GPPS inj. offers retreated by around CNY200/ton ($29/ton).
Looking forward, weak demand amid the ongoing trade tension is expected to dominate the PS market. Players also follow the upstream and the energy markets closely nowadays as these factors may gain prominence in terms of determining the price direction if the recent gains prove sustainable.