In the wake of the styrene monomer reference dropping by €170/t ($192), styrenics prices in Western Europe plummeted in November 2018. There were three-digit discounts across the board. Due to restricted shipping on the shallow Rhine, individual suppliers were still only able to deliver to a very limited extent. There were further bottlenecks at the end of the month, when strikes in France and Belgium affected procurement from some production facilities in those countries.
Despite this, enough materials were available on the market, especially as many processors speculated on further price reductions in December and therefore did not buy more volumes than necessary. Their hopes have not been dashed. The styrene monomer reference for December dropped by €150/t ($170) against November, and was fixed at €990/t ($1,122). Styrenics prices will follow this trend. For processors who do not have to pay attention to end-of-year inventory levels, this presents a good purchasing opportunity before prices increase again in the New Year – which is likely.