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Sunday, June 4, 2023

NWE styrene stages biggest daily fall in nine months on higher supply

The Northwest European styrene price fell $87 on Monday from Friday, posting the largest daily fall since September 2015, as the return of major styrene units eased tight supply at the end of May.

The Northwest European styrene spot price was assessed at $1,051.50/mt FOB ARA Monday, down 12.5% or $150.50/mt from May 31.

The sharp fall meant that the spot market was trading at a 22% discount to the contract market on Monday.

The June styrene contract price was fully settled at Eur1,180/mt ($1,342/mt) last Wednesday, up Eur60 from May.

The dramatic fall in the spot price was attributed by sources to the return of major styrene monomer units.

Shell’s Moerdijk POSM-1 unit in the Netherlands restarted production at the beginning of June after conducting planned maintenance from the end of March for six to eight weeks, according to industry sources. Shell declined to comment.

Trinseo’s Boehlen unit in Germany also restarted production at the end of May following planned maintenance between late March, lasting approximately eight weeks. Trinseo declined to comment.

Total’s French Gonfreville unit declared force majeure at the end of May, which further tightened spot supplies. However, Total was heard to be operating at a reduced rate and was exporting product by barge, sources said. Continued strikes in France were reported to be disrupting transportation of styrene on rail tank cars or trucks. Total declined to comment.

The return of the styrene units in France have created a sudden supply of styrene. A source said Monday that there may be a glut in June.

Sources said that imported material was expected to arrive in June and July, which will further ease supply.

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