Middle East PS players wary of new import restrictions in Iraq

15 July 2011 10:23  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The Middle East polystyrene (PS) market is cautious following the announcement of a new restriction on imports to Iraq, several industry sources said on Friday.

Minister of State and government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh announced on 6 July that all commodity imports into Iraq must bear international inspection certificates from both Swiss inspection firm SGS and France’s Bureau Veritas to ensure quality control.

Market players are seeking confirmation of the new ruling as details are still unclear, an east Mediterranean trader said.

The implementation of inspection certificates is expected to increase the cost of PS and may lead to lower volumes of shipments of the material to Iraq, industry sources said.

Iraq is a major market for PS in the Middle East, the sources added.

However, a trader from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region said Iraq’s new ruling may cause PS prices in the region to decline, but added that it is too early to be sure.

Another GCC-based trader said that while the impact of the new ruling on PS prices in the region remains uncertain, the market will take its cue from how well demand is able to support the prices.

PS prices in the east Mediterranean and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions are steady on 15 July at $1,580-1,620/tonne (€1,122-1,150/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) east Mediterranean (MED)/GCC for general-purpose PS (GPPS) and $1,800-1,850/tonne CFR east MED/GCC for high-impact PS (HIPS).

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Gabriel Yip
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