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Styrenics output reduction could affect availability, customer price

The recent problems at the BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) production site in Antwerp, Belgium could have some longer-term affects on styrenic plastics prices and accessibility in Europe, reports ChemOrbis (Istanbul, Turkey) the e-B2B marketplace for plastics. Both polystyrene (PS) and ABS output are reported to be reduced to 50% capacity following a power outage that has affected feedstock units at the plant.

BASF has a PS nameplate capacity of 220,000 tonnes/yr and 200,000 tonnes/yr of ABS at the site. ChemOrbis says its sources do not know how long the problems will last because the company has already scheduled a shutdown for planned maintenance in September.

"The latest outage comes on top of an already tight PS market in Europe, which was created by unexpected shutdowns in the region, combined with a long period of reduced rates and planned maintenance in September," says ChemOrbis. "The start of August brought panic to the market regarding availability of PS."

ChemOrbis also reports that polymer producer Total (formerly Atofina) was still confronted last week with force majeure at its PS plant at Carling, France. Markets are reporting that these combined problems have helped push PS prices up by almost €100/tonne. European stocks of PS are also reported at historic lows.

Styrenic copolymer producer Dow Europe (Horgen, Switzerland) is taking advantage of the demand by increasing ABS and SAN resin prices by €150/tonne, claiming higher energy costs, "sustained pressure on margins", and price increases in raw materials.-Robert Colvin, [email protected]

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