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Insight | Time:Jul 11 2018 10:35AM
Styrene monomer market in H1 2018
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1. Higher profits
In the first half of 2018, average cash flow of styrene monomer was 1,689yuan/mt, much higher than the level of 813yuan/mt in 2017. SM price surged in May due to intensive maintenances in April and May. Profits were robust and the highest cash flow rose to around 4,900yuan/mt.

2. Low inventory
SM port inventory reached the highest level within 2017 of 233.9kt in end March, and then gradually decreased. Inventory level picked up in the first quarter of 2018 and reached to 132.4kt by end March, but then slipped apparently due to intensive turnarounds, particularly of large-scaled units. By early June, port inventory in East China main ports was only around 35.2kt, and inventory held by traders was only 187kt.

3. Falling imports
For most time of H1 2018, CFR China prices remained higher than domestic level, but the premium was lower than in 2017. Import prices were higher than in 2017.

SM imports continued decreasing this year. The drop could be attributed to rising domestic supply and antidumping measures. In the first five months of 2018, SM imports totaled around 1.099 million tons, down about 145kt year on year. Monthly import volume was around 219.8kt for January-May. Domestic production in H1 2018 posted around 165kt increment from the same period last year.

4. Downstream derivatives
Prices of downstream derivatives mainly moved tracking the trend of styrene monomer. Overall operating rates of downstream derivatives were lower than then same period of 2017.
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