For the Quarter Ending December 2022
Prices for Styrene copolymer have decreased throughout Q4 of 2022, and as a result, there has been little change in the product's price across the US market. This offers continued low-price volatility for the remaining months of the quarter. In the US market in December, Styrene copolymer prices were seen to be stable at USD 1700/MT on the FOB basis. During that time, traders and suppliers on the domestic market had a greater supply of styrene copolymer than the market's existing inventory. According to reports, the offtakes and production rates fell along with the downstream inquiries.
Throughout the last quarter of 2022, the Styrene Copolymer market displayed unfavorable market sentiments. Styrene Copolymer prices remained low due to variable demand in the regional market and moving upstream crude oil prices on the worldwide market. Despite modest stabilization of the European region's inflation rate during the quarter, the cost of styrene copolymer kept falling. Freight rates in the European region decreased by 2%, which had an impact on market sentiments and relieved the cost pressure from rising polymer costs.
During the fourth quarter of 2022, a significant fall in demand for styrene copolymers was seen in the Asian Pacific market. Although the demand, which remained largely poor during the quarter, was the only factor taken into account for downstream procurement. Additionally, the trading environment continued to be sluggish, which contributed to the slowness of Indian inquiries. As a result, southeast Asian market trading remained sluggish, and Chinese traders maintained their caution as they had heard about the multinational players offering discounts on their cargo. Additionally, Q4 saw a series of downturns in upstream pricing, which aided producers in stepping up production and later stockpiling, resulting in an abundance of supplies in the area.
For the Quarter Ending September 2022
Following the trend from the previous quarter, the price of Styrene Co-polymer continued to decline in the H1 of the third quarter of 2022. The US cosmetics and personal care segment have also been quiet, dulling the country's market. Styrene and its derivatives are now less expensive due to reduced feedstock costs and a drop in demand in the US market. So, at the start of the second half of the quarter, the lack of feedstock and the slower production rates temporarily raised product price quotations. However, the price trend once more leaned lower near the close of Q3. Additionally, the demand from the packaging and cosmetics industries was low throughout the period. In the USA, the Styrene Copolymer price was assessed at around USD 1840/MT during September 2022.
Like the previous quarter, Styrene Co-polymer's pricing trend in Asia was unfavorable. As a result of manufacturing being reduced initially on government orders owing to summer heat waves and power disruptions, product prices declined substantially. Additionally, because of higher inventory levels, the costs of the SAN's primary raw materials, Styrene and Acrylic Acid, continued to be on the downside. However, the lackluster demand from downstream manufacturers, particularly producers, was the leading cause of the prices' sharp decline. Typhoon Hinnamor caused delays in deliveries and shipments at China's main cargo port. As a result, the product prices fell sharply and finally stabilized at USD 1514/MT in India.
Stable demand from the cosmetics and personal care industries contributed to the third quarter's pricing trend for Styrene Co-polymer in Europe. Pressure on European manufacturers came from the Russian exporters' limitation of input supplies, while local downstream producers decreased their operational rates in the face of growing inflation. The product offtakes remained low as a result. Additionally, upstream cost pressure was reduced due to the high inflation rate and the collapse of the feedstock Styrene during the middle of the third quarter due to lower product offtakes and higher domestic inventory levels. As per the data, Styrene Copolymer prices hovered around USD 2200/MT during the final week of September 2022.
During the second quarter of 2022, the market sentiments of Styrene Copolymer observed a decline in the North American market on the back of retarding feedstock prices in the domestic market. Benzene and ethylene prices were observed on the lower edge in the regional market, which proportionally impacted the Styrene Copolymer prices. These variations in the feedstock prices influenced the production cost of Styrene Copolymer. Furthermore, the demand from the automotive sector remained gloomy as chip shortages occurred in the regional market. This decline in demand and surging fuel prices led to retardation in the regional market. Another facet governing the market sentiments of Styrene Copolymer is the availability of feedstock with downstream manufacturers to cater to the domestic demand.
In the second quarter, the Asia-Pacific region observed a continuous decline in Styrene Copolymer prices. Crude oil prices in the international market played the key factors in any fluctuations in Styrene Copolymer prices as its downstream benzene prices also remained on the lower edge. Asian markets also witnessed a continuous decline in ethylene and natural gas prices. Countries such as China and Taiwan suffered from natural calamities, consequently halting the production rate of Styrene Copolymer. Variations in feedstock prices proportionally impacted the market dynamics of Styrene Copolymer in the regional market. Furthermore, weak demand from downstream sectors such as cosmetics and automobiles has led to lower operational rates and low production costs, significantly influencing regional market dynamics.
The prices of Styrene Copolymer also followed the downward trend in the European market despite the inflated commodity. Production activity in the European region remained slow throughout the quarter as the country faced a feedstock crisis. With the rise in crude oil and gasoline prices, the demand for automotive sectors remained quite proportionally, impacting the prices of Styrene Copolymer in the domestic market. As per the major manufacturers, end-users demand was low, which could be fulfilled with the available feedstock. Moreover, the inquiry about the product from end-use businesses was low, forcing the suppliers to decrease the market prices of Styrene Copolymer in the regional market.