Styrene: production shortfalls lead to price volatility
The styrene industry in the Americas, and to a somewhat lesser degree in Europe, has painfully rationalised its way to much better utilisations and margins but, in doing so, has become more vulnerable to unexpected production issues.
For example, styrene spot prices in the US Gulf Coast have jumped by over 50 percent since the end of 2016, leaving feedstocks somewhat behind and providing windfall margins for those producers able to capitalise.
The net result of these types of production issues is greater price volatility, which could end up damaging long-term derivative demand growth as customers are prompted to switch to polymers more stable in terms of price.
What factors have caused such volatility? And what is the potential impact for the styrene industry going forward?
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