About 70% of Taiwan’s styrene monomer production capacity — 1.15 million mt/year — is expected to shut for maintenance over August-November.
The tunarounds are scheduled at five of the country’s eight SM units.
Taiwan Styrene Monomer Co.’s 180,000 mt/year No. 1 SM plant at Lin Yuan plans to shut in late August for about three weeks, a source close to the company said Thursday.
Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. plans to shut its 250,000 mt/year No. 1 SM plant and 350,000 mt/year No. 2 SM plant at Mailiao for 30 days of maintenance in early September.
Grand Pacific Petrochemical Corp. plans to shut its 240,000 mt/year SM plant at Tashe in September for a month of scheduled maintenance.
GPPC plans to shut its smaller 140,000 mt/year SM plant at the same site in October for about a month for a turnaround.
The market is divided about what effect the turnarounds in Taiwan will have on the regional SM market.
A Japan-based source said the shut capacity would likely support prices.
But another source said downstream markets in China have been more bearish than expected because demand is not picking up despite peak manufacturing season.
The CFR China SM marker has been falling since hitting a seven-month high of $1,454.50/mt on May 15, mainly due to a softer demand. It was assessed at $1,146.50/mt Wednesday.
China’s weak economic outlook has also pressured the SM market. The Caixin/Markit China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for July was published at 47.8 this week, its lowest since November 2011. A PMI of less than 50 indicates contraction.
Taiwanese SM accounted for about 12.7% of China’s total SM imports in 2014, making it the second top supplier after South Korea’s 38% share, according to Chinese customs data.
|Taiwan SM turnarounds:|
|Formosa Chemicals & Fibre, 1||Mailiao||250,000||Sep 1, 40 days|
|Formosa Chemicals & Fibre, 2||Mailiao||350,000||Sep 1, 40 days|
|Grand Pacific Petrochemical, 2||Tashe||130,000||mid-Sep, 30 days|
|Grand Pacific Petrochemical, 3||Tashe||240,000||mid-Oct, 30 days|
|Taiwan Styrene Monomer, 1||Linyuan||180,000||end-Aug, 3 weeks|
|Source: Market participants|