Asia expandable polystyrene prices slide on weak demand

28 June 2011 09:15  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot prices of expandable polystyrene (EPS) continue to be on the downtrend this week as demand in Asia remains lacklustre, producers and buyers said on Tuesday.

Transactions for packaging grade resins were at around $1,530/tonne (€1,071/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China on 28 June, down from $1,605/tonne CFR China on 27 May, according to data from ICIS.

“Poor demand in the region because of weak economic performance in the US and eurozone has dampened EPS prices,” said a producer in Taiwan.

Market players are concerned that the Chinese manufacturing season for exports in the third quarter will be affected by the slow economic growth in the US and the ongoing debt crisis in Greece.

Packaging EPS is made into styrofoam, which is used to package food, toys and consumer electronics.

The other main consumer of EPS is the construction and infrastructure sector in China. EPS is made into insulation panels to be used in buildings as well as roads.

“The tighter credit policy in China as the government tries to curb inflation has resulted in slower construction activities and trade, hence reducing demand for EPS,” said a Chinese resin producer.

The sluggish prices of feedstock styrene monomer (SM), which have been languishing at below $1,400/tonne CFR China since 17 June, have also contributed to the decline in EPS prices.

“With SM prices remaining weak, EPS prices could decrease further, so most buyers are likely to wait,” said an end-user in southeast Asia.

Major EPS producers include the Loyal Group, Ming Dih Group and Taita Chemicals.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on EPS, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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