Houston — Styrene prices in the US hit a 5-month high this week following gains Tuesday, which put prompt prices at $1,025/mt on an FOB USG basis.
The last time it was higher was on November 2, 2018, at $1,069/mt.
Following recent stability that saw US styrene prices hover in the $1,000-1,005/mt range, prices gained $20 Tuesday on the back of tight supply.
“I think people just started counting molecules,” a trader source said. A second source noted that US pricing saw additional support from strength in May European spot styrene prices, which were last heard bid Wednesday at $1,065/mt.
US supply has been constrained since January when Americas Styrenics went into a planned 45-day maintenance at its facility at St James. Works are expected to conclude at the 953,000 mt/year facility by mid-March, a company source said recently. Market participants said that a second producer may go into planned maintenance at the end of March, though details and confirmation were not available at time of publication.
Related to economics, spot styrene margins improved after being recently dented by a stronger March benzene contract. Margins on a spot basis were estimated at near $307/mt, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.
–Kevin Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org
–Edited by Pankti Mehta, email@example.com
Source: S&P Global Platts