PS prices inch up in Argentina despite price controls

14 April 2011 18:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Polystyrene (PS) prices were slowly rising in Argentina despite government efforts to keep inflation under control, market sources said on Thursday.

Prices have been frozen in Argentina since February because the government has applied measures to keep prices stable to stem inflation.

PS material from the main producer, Petrobras Energia, has not had any increases in April, following government guidelines.

However, all imported material that entered the country to cover the shortages produced by nearly a month-long strike at the Zarate production plant was being sold at higher prices.

Domestic PS production was catching up with shortages in the market, but supply remained vastly inadequate for the domestic needs.

The 66,000 tonne/year PS plant, idled for nearly a month by labour unrest, was restarted on 25 March and has been running at full capacity to restore supply and inventories.

Imports from the US Gulf and Brazil were expected to land in Argentina during April to alleviate the shortages.

PS prices in Argentina were in the range of $2,054-2,174/tonne DEL (delivered) (€1,417-1,500/tonne) for crystal grade, while high-impact PS (HIPS) prices were at $2,174-2,318/tonne, based on ICIS data.

Prices for small-volume buyers were likely to be even higher.

($1 = €0.69)

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By: George Martin
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