For the First Quarter of 2022
In the Asia-Pacific area, vinylbenzene prices followed the rising tendencies in Q1. Market sentiments in the domestic market were favorably influenced by thriving downstream sectors such as plastic rubber and disposable cups. The cost of the feedstocks benzene and ethylene rose in tandem with crude oil prices. The Omicron virus epidemic in China led manufacturers to suspend production, causing supply disruption in the Asia-Pacific market as key manufacturers temporarily halted output. In January, the price of the chemical was 1197 USD/MT CFR Shanghai, China.
Vinylbenzene prices in the European market increased in the first quarter of 2022 owing to increased prices of the raw materials. The prolonged conflict between Russia and Ukraine disrupted the supply of crude oil and natural gas, forcing firms to raise manufacturing costs. As a result, the trade route was harmed, and the supply chain became unbalanced. Furthermore, demand from downstream industries such as packaging and insulation remained strong throughout the quarter, resulting in price increases. Vinylbenzene prices in Germany for the first month of the quarter were 1600 USD/MT, CFR Hamburg.
Prices in the North American market accelerated during the first quarter of 2022, rising from 1406 USD/MT FOB Texas in January to 1650 USD/MT FOB Texas at the conclusion of the quarter. As a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, escalating vinylbenzene prices in the US market were accompanied by increasing crude oil prices. The cost of production for major companies increased, affecting the chemical’s market. The demand prognosis for downstream packaging, automotive, and rubber sectors remained positive, and as a result, vinylbenzene prices increased in Q1 2022.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
Vinylbenzene prices in the Asia Pacific area were flat in Q4 compared to Q2 and Q3. The major industries in India and China were believed to be under pressure due to increased local production and weak import demand. Because of the plentiful availability of feedstock benzene, market trade activity slowed. India's solid demand for automobiles and household appliances persisted, and the downstream market remained stable, with customers purchasing products on a need-to basis and anticipating additional price reductions. Prices were 1269 USD/MT Ex-Vadodara in the last week of December, while prices in China were 1340 USD/MT FOB Qingdao.
Vonylbenzene prices in Europe fell in Q4 due to hoarding of inventory and oversupplies. In Germany, mood appeared to be skewed due to weak demand. Expansive production edges had been viewed as an extra cost of vinylbenzene production up to this point, owing to crucial production disruptions in the fourth quarter that left the stockpiles vulnerable. As a result of the lower demand, benzene inventories steadily increased. In Q4 2021, supplies were anticipated to be exhausted, resulting in a steeply backward price curve. According to reports, the margin for vinylbenzene over benzene in the downstream market was higher in November, with the gap exceeding 500 USD/MT for the month, although a spread of 250 USD/MT normally signifies a well-balanced market.
Due to good demand and strong downstream sectors, price in North America remined on the higher end when compared to Q2 and Q3. In October, US vinylbenzene exports to the world declined by more than 9% due to rising freight charges on key US trade routes and a reduction in demand from key export destinations, according to a monthly analysis of the industry. In October, US exports fell to 121,854 MT. In October, Mexico upped its imports of US vinylbenzene to 80,595 MT. Meanwhile, prices were relatively consistent in H2 of Q4, and according to evaluations from the second week of December, US pricing increased by 3% on a FOB basis, indicating early symptoms of a market change.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
Supplies in the APAC area exhibited mixed results in the first quarter, as numerous facilities' turnarounds came to a conclusion and manufacturers worked at optimum efficiency. Prices in India spiked during the quarter, maintaining an average of 1084.5 USD/MT CFR JNPT due to increased demand from downstream industries such as ABS and Polyvinyl benzene. In China, demand increased due to an influx of inquiries from downstream Polyvinyl benzene and ABS manufacturers and was claimed to have reached pre-pandemic levels in Q2. Dull purchasing attitudes in the Asia Pacific area drove down vinylbenzene prices in Q3. The market trend for vinylbenzene in India shifted higher, with prices rising from 1183 USD/MT to 1418 USD/MT in Q3 2021.
During the first quarter of 2021, supplies were scarce as a key vinylbenzene factory remained closed in early February, followed by poor industrial and commercial activity amid worries of a second COVID-19 pandemic. However, opposite to supply, increasing demand led in a massive increase in its pricing. As merchants reported depleted pre-stocked stocks and delayed imports, the quarterly pattern was expected to continue. Benzene pricing trend evaluated optimistic attitudes in European nations during Q3. The strong price of benzene resulted in a price increase for practically all styrenics. The downstream building and construction industries increased their demand for vinylbenzene in September. Throughout the quarter, offtakes from the ABS and Polyvinyl Benzene production plants remained steady. In September, the price of the chemical in Germany was set at 1340 USD/MT.
Supplies in the North American area were constrained in Q1 2021, as several facilities were undergoing maintenance turnarounds throughout the first half of the year. Following that, cold weather in the US Gulf area created production difficulties, resulting in large plant outages in mid-February. However, demand was on the rise as downstream consumption improved, resulting in a sharp increase in regional prices from 1300 USD/MT in January to 1900 USD/MT on a CFR basis in March 2021.
Supplies increased in Q2 as the US Gulf region's industrial infrastructure recovered and heavy aromatic crackers ran at higher rates. Due to strong domestic demand for Styrenics like ABS and Polyvinyl Benzene, Styrolution and LyondellBasell removed the force majeures. With FOB Texas discussion valued at USD 1360 in June, the pricing pattern showed a progressive easing equal to market supply.
The market in North America underwent upheaval in the third quarter of 2021. As Hurricane Ida made landfall on the Gulf Coast of the United States, the AmSty manufacturing facility at Saint James, Louisiana, with a production capacity of 950 KTPA, was shut down preemptively, affecting the cost of the chemical in the region. During the last week of September, the price was 1310 USD/MT.
For the Year 2020
Ample stockpiles of the chemical in China, along with unfavorable offtakes, cast a pall over the Southeast Asian market's fundamentals. Several firms, including SP Chemical and Abel Chemical, performed a quick turnaround in vinylbenzene producing units to balance the decreased demand and supply imbalance. Although regional fundamentals improved, inventory levels in China did not shift significantly as numerous firms continued to operate at above 80 percent market competence. In August, vinylbenzene prices were range bound at 650-680 USD/MT CFR China, in line with the bleak market picture. By the conclusion of the quarter, demand for polyvinyl benzene and ABS had returned to normal, leaving just independent vinylbenzene makers in the red.
Since the end of August, numerous industrial and downstream industries had completed scheduled turnarounds, which helped to restore demand supply fundamentals in the European area. Producers were heard operating at lower rates in order to avoid losses caused by market instability. In September, demand for downstream derivatives such as ABS and SAN increased significantly, owing to increased demand for automotive, electronics, consumer appliances, and furniture. However, thanks to Covid-19, demand from the construction industry remained cloaked in containment measures, with the UK and Russia leading the way with double-digit declines.
Despite many maintenance turnarounds and forced outages due to worries of a succession of factories weighed on demand fundamentals. Despite this, a modest increase in vinylbenzene demand from the automotive sector gave a ray of optimism for the industry's overall demand fundamentals. By the conclusion of the third quarter, demand from Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea had alleviated the supply glut. Seasonally storms, the supply of the chemical in North America was found to be adequate. Styrolution, a major US player, announced the closure of its two vinylbenzene plants in Texas and Bayport.
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Vinylbenzene. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Procurement Resource provides prices of Vinylbenzene for several regions around the globe, which are as follows:
About Vinyl Benzene:
Styrene is a chemical compound that has the formula C6H5CH=CH2. Although ageing samples might seem yellowish, this benzene derivative is a white oily liquid. The chemical is easy to evaporate and has a sweet odor, albeit it has a less pleasant odor at large concentrations. Polystyrene and many copolymers are made from styrene.
In the process using ethylbenzene, a catalytic dehydrogenation process is used. Vinylbenzene is made by dehydrating diluted ethylbenzene with steam over a fixed-bed catalyst under adiabatic conditions.
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The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).
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