04 October 2010 15:07 [Source: ICIS news]
BUDAPEST (ICIS)--Global demand for styrene derivatives is expected to grow by 3-4% in 2011, with the Asian market leading the way and growth stemming from different downstream products, players said on Monday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 44th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Budapest, Hungary, one producer said that while markets such as acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) would continue to grow, it was unclear whether they would be able to compensate for declining polystyrene (PS) volumes.
The producer said: “PS accounts for 40% of global styrene consumption right now, and this has been declining for several years. Some of the demand from things like CD boxes has gone for good. We see markets like ABS and EPS growing, but the question is whether they can compensate for PS.”
Another seller agreed that the derivative markets were changing but was less downbeat regarding the future of PS.
“We expect 3% growth for PS in 2010, which is in line with GDP. It is true that we have lost some demand from TV and CD production, but there is potential growth from the packaging sector.”
The seller added that the market was at the bottom of this trend at the moment, so it remained difficult to say how much styrene these newer applications would pull.
Another player said that while ABS has seen strong growth due to demand from the automotive and electronics industries, EPS was still somewhat of a “wild card” due to its dependence on the construction sector, where it has been volatile owing to the effect of government subsidy schemes.
According to one trader, however, there would always be a market for PS.
“It is a cheap and cheerful polymer,” said the trader. “There will always be applications for it.”
This year’s EPCA meeting runs from 2-6 October.
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