US EPS price increases partially successful

08 June 2010 23:12  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Price increases for all grades of expandable polystyrene (EPS) announced for June in North American markets were partially taking hold, market sources said on Tuesday.

Initially, producers were seeking to implement a 5 cent/lb ($110/tonne, €92/tonne) price increase effective 15 May. This was postponed until 1 June.

Meanwhile, falling crude prices dragged down feedstock benzene and styrene monomer prices, eroding support for the EPS price increase.

Producers consulted agreed that only a 2-3 cent/lb increase was taking hold. The reduced cost of feedstock preserved production margins.

The price increase has enlarged the gap with offshore EPS beads from Asia, which are expected to arrive in the high 70s cents/lb in July, when domestic EPS prices may be again under pressure.

By comparison, domestic prices in the US are in the low-to-mid 80s cents/lb, while prices in Mexico are a few cents higher, according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.

Sales volumes were slightly down in June so far compared with those of April and May, and this was attributed to buyers holding for lower prices ahead, producer sources said.

The main North American producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, StyroChem, Nexkemia, Idesa and Polioles.

 ($1 = €0.84)

For more on expandable polystyrene visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: George Martin
+1 713 525 2653

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