China’s PS market balanced between thin demand and firmer styrene
In China, PS prices are stable in the first week after the New Year as the market is balanced between sluggish demand and firmer spot styrene prices as per the pricing service of ChemOrbis. Spot styrene gained ground both on an FOB Korea and a CFR China basis, with prices moving higher by $20/ton week over week. Despite slightly softer benzene costs, spot styrene was supported by firmer ethylene prices which rose by $20-30/ton on the week to hit the highest level in almost four years, pushed up by tight supply.
A B-grade PS producer maintained their GPPS and HIPS prices this week. A source from the producer commented, “The market is quiet following the New Year, but feedstock costs are firm. We are planning to observe the market while insisting on our prices given our scheduled maintenance shutdown following the Chinese New Year holidays.” Another B-grade PS producer also kept their prices unchanged from last week. “Demand is muted after the holidays, but we think that prices will remain mostly steady in the upcoming weeks owing to stronger spot styrene prices,” a producer source commented.
A distributor offering B-grade PS reported, “We received steady offers from local producers this week, supported by higher styrene prices. We are currently debating whether to issue discounts or not in order to conclude deals as we think that prices are unlikely to move higher in the short term due to weak demand from converters ahead of the approaching holidays.”
Import PS prices are also unchanged week over week. A source from a South Korean supplier commented, “We left our prices stable from last week as demand remains disappointing. We can’t sell large volumes as buyers are taking a wait-and-see attitude. However, we are not planning to step back from our prices and we project a mostly stable trend for the short term.”
According to ChemOrbis, after observing the steady PS trend, buyers are cautious about their purchases ahead of the holidays. A converter reported, “We already secured some cargoes ahead of the New Year and we are unwilling to build high stocks ahead of the Chinese New Year holidays. We will suspend our production for 8 days as of January 31.” Another converter added, “Strong styrene costs are keeping PS prices steady and we do not expect to see any increases in the short term given the upcoming holidays. We are planning to wait and observe the market for now.”