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Insight | Time:Oct 11 2017 1:55PM
China's styrene down sharply on poor buying, higher inventory
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China's domestic styrene monomer prices fell sharply on thin buying interests and amid a build-up in inventory, after a week-long holiday in October 1-8 for National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival.

East China SM price was assessed at 9,950yuan/mt Tuesday, down 550yuan/mt from September 30. The market continued its weakness on Wednesday morning. Prompt cargoes were heard traded around 9,700yuan/mt. Bids of H2 Oct cargoes were at 9,450-9,500yuan/mt against offers at 9,600yuan/mt. Bids and offers of Nov cargoes were at 9,350-9,400yuan/mt.

Buying from downstream players were tepid as most had bought enough SM in H2 Sep, due to concerns about Jiangsu port restrictions. Downstream EPS plants showed little interests, despite falling product inventory. Operating rate of EPS plant decreased during the holiday, and recovered gradually these day. Some vessels carrying SM arrived during the holiday while the offtake slowed down due to the shutdowns of EPS plants.

SM tank inventory in East China main ports increased 33.4kt from end Sep to 85.8kt on Oct 11. Commercial inventory, known as the inventory held by traders, increased 25kt to 56.3kt.

Location Terminal 11-Oct 27-Sep Change
Jiangyin ODFJELL 74.8 46.9 27.9
Zhangjiagang Vopak 6 3.5 2.5
Donghua Energy
Others Nantong Benny 5 2 3
Changzhou Xinrun
Changshu Benny
Total (kt) 85.8 52.4 33.4
Commercial (kt) 56.3 31.3 25

In the addition, the slump in Huaxicun Commodity Contracts Exchange also weighed on market sentiment. The December contract fell 4.80% Monday and 3.19% Tuesday.

Looking ahead, operating rate of domestic styrene is expected to keep stable in October. Impact of the 19th CPC National Congress (Oct 18-25) on SM transport in Jiangsu port will be limited. Cargo arrivals in H1 Oct is high while offtake slow down as many downstream plants shut down units during the holiday. Some EPS plants in North China may close units amid the 19th CPC National Congress. And SM demand in Northwest China may also slow down due to low temperature. SM market is likely to keep weak in Oct.
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