Malaysia's only styrene monomer (SM) producer, Idemitsu Styrene Monomer (ISM), has reduced operating rates by 10pc at its 241,000 t/yr unit this month because of negative production margins.
SM from this unit feeds a derivative 110,000 t/yr high-impact polystyrene facility.
The producer has no spot supplies available following the reduction in its operating rates.
ISM is considering maintaining reduced production in February.
The reduction comes on the heels of similar production cuts at Japanese producer Taiyo Oil's 370,000 t/yr SM unit and South Korean producer Hanwha Total's 1.1mn t/yr SM facility.
Production margins turned negative at integrated producers last October and at non-integrated producers in November 2019.
The December benzene-SM production spread averaged $155/t in December. Producers generally need this spread to be at least at $240/t to cover costs. The spread was at $138/t in the first week of January.
By Kate Lee