Tight supply of styrene monomer in Asia may ease in September

(ICIS) -- Asia's tight supply of styrene monomer (SM) in Asia may ease in September, with a number of regional facilities coming back on stream following turnarounds and, in the case of some plants, outages, market players said on Tuesday.

SM buyers expect spot prices to slip next month on increased supply of the material, and with demand for downstream plastic resins usually waning towards the second half of September, as the seasonal peak in the Chinese manufacturing season for exports draws to a close.

Limited availability of spot cargoes throughout August helped prop up SM prices at an average of around USD 1,510/tonne (EUR 1,042/tonne) in August, against a backdrop of widely fluctuating crude prices, according to ICIS. Crude prices traded at a wide range of USD 76-87/bbl in August.

Spot inventories along the eastern Chinese shore tanks were at 50,000-60,000 tonnes in August, compared to 70,000-85,0000 tonnes in July, market sources said.


US gasoline futures closed lower on Monday

(ICIS) -- Gasoline futures closed lower on Monday after east-coast refineries reported few disruptions caused by Hurricane Irene. Hurricane Irene's expected path passed over six crucial east coast refiners, and some expected to see significant storm surges.

Gasoline settled at USD 2.9064/gal, down 2.82 cents from before the storm on 26 August. Crude, meanwhile, gained USD 1.90/bbl for a settlement of USD 87.27/bbl.

Prices for gasoline futures surged on 25 August as investors expected supply disruptions because of refinery shutdowns and long-term damage. But this was not the case. Instead, at least one refinery remains shut down and two refineries remain at reduced rates following Hurricane Irene's sweep up the US east coast.

Refinery operators took the steps as a precaution to any possible damage or injury that could be caused by the storm.


SIBUR expands powers of SIBUR LLC board

(Sibur) -- By the decision of the sole participant in ⌠SIBUR LLC, dated August 4, 2011, the articles of association were amended, whereby the position of ⌠President in relation to the person heading SIBUR, has been changed to ⌠CEO. This decision was made in connection with the process of unification of the names of the sole executive bodies of all companies belonging to the SIBUR group. Accordingly, as of the date that the new charter for SIBUR was registered on August 16, 2011, the official name of the head of the company is the CEO of ⌠SIBUR LLC - Management organisation of the JSC ⌠SIBUR Holding.

Also due to the redistribution of powers of the Board of JSC ⌠SIBUR Holding in favour of the Board of ⌠SIBUR LLC, the quantitative composition of the Board of JSC ⌠SIBUR Holding has been reduced to five persons, according to a decision taken by the Board of Directors on August 25, 2011.


China's Sinopec H1 profit jumps 11.9%

(ICIS) -- Chinese petrochemical major Sinopec reported on Monday an 11.9% year-on-year surge in first-half 2011 net profit to CNY41.2bn (USD 6.45bn) given sharp increase revenue, which offset heavy losses in its refining business.

Total turnover for the six-month period jumped 31.5% year on year to CNY1,233bn, with the company's operating profit rising 5.7% to CNY58.4bn, the company said.

Its refining segment incurred a CNY12.2bn loss in January-June 2011, sharply reversing a CNY5.7bn profit made in the same period last year, because of spikes in crude prices.

Fuel prices are regulated in China, preventing oil companies to immediately pass on their high cost of production to consumers.


High European MEG prices are dampening demand

(ICIS) -- High European monoethylene glycol (MEG) spot prices are dampening demand, buyers said on Friday. ⌠Europe is too high...if [our] customers aren't buying at these numbers, why should we? a buyer said, adding that the current price ⌠kills demand. Bulk price ideas are between EUR 950-1,000/tonne (USD 1,357-1,429/tonne) CIF (cost, insurance and freight) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS.

Europe is a net importer and has been receiving spot product from the US where prices command a replacement cost of around EUR 940-950/tonne CFR (cost and freight) NWE, a trader explained. A reseller would have to add to this in order to make a profit.

European producers said recently that their prices had stepped up to those of alternative imports, particularly as there are domestic shutdowns planned for September and the fourth quarter. The lack of bulk material has added an element of tightness to what is otherwise a balanced market, at least for now, players said.