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Iran SM adds to massive deep-sea cargoes bound for China

November 03/2010

(ICIS) -- China will receive around 30,000 tonnes of styrene monomer (SM) from Iran in December, adding to the strong flows of deep-sea cargoes that continue to augment the Asian countrys inventory and upset SM prices, industry sources said on Wednesday.


Some traders had expressed concerns that inventory levels in east China market will blow up to hit 100,000 tonnes by the end of the year.


Actual inventory was pegged at around 75,000-80,000 tonnes this week, much higher than the usual level of 60,000-70,000 tonne in off-season, market sources said.


The SM price in east China trended lower in the past two weeks, from yuan (CNY) 10,200/tonne ($1,527/tonnes) to CNY 9,650/tonne ex-tank Zhangjiagang, a CNY550/tonne increase from 21st October.


Buying activities were limited, according to traders, as most of them were waiting on the sidelines given the surplus supply that was weighing on prices.


Irans SM shipment was precipitated by the restart of Pars Petrochemical Cos 600,000 tonne/year plant in Assaluyeh at the end of October. The plant was shut on 20 August due to lack of feedstock benzene as a result of sanctions on Iran due to its nuclear arms programme.


Meanwhile, some 100,000 tonnes of material were heading towards northeast Asia, including China, from the US between October 2010 to January 2011, market sources said. The strong supply of imported SM, however, was not being matched by demand, given seasonal weakness in production of major downstream expandable polystyrene (EPS) in China, they said.


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