Asia polystyrene prices rise on buoyant feedstock

18 July 2011 08:20  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Spot prices of polystyrene (PS) have continued their upward trend over the past three weeks because of strong performance in the feedstock styrene monomer (SM) sector, producers and traders said on Monday.

SM prices were at $1,475/tonne (€1,047/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China on 15 July, up from around $1,380/tonne CFR China for the week ended 24 June, according to ICIS data. This rebound has lifted the sentiment of PS suppliers.

“The increase in SM prices over the past few weeks has prompted PS sellers to increase their resin prices,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

Consequently, general purpose (GP) PS prices firmed to $1,530/tonne CFR China on 15 July after reaching $1,485/tonne CFR China on 1 July. High impact (HI) PS also trended higher to $1,745/tonne CFR China on 15 July after slipping to below $1,700/tonne CFR China for the week ended 1 July, according to ICIS.

However, the increase in PS prices was met with some buyer resistance as demand was largely still soft.

“With debt troubles in the eurozone and economic malaise in the US, Asian PS buyers anticipate that exports to the two regions could be curtailed this year,” said a Taiwanese resins producer.

GPPS is used for packaging and made into toys and other consumer items. HIPS is used to make consumer electronics, office equipment and toys.

Prices of expandable (E) PS have also been firm these few weeks, following the increase in SM costs.

Spot prices of packaging EPS rose to $1,620/tonne CFR China on 15 July, up from $1,570/tonne CFR China for the week ended 24 June, ICIS data showed.

EPS demand in China has showed signs of revival in recent weeks, as factories in China replenish their resins stock in preparation for exports during the manufacturing season, which typically spans from July to October.

However, with the start of the Muslim fasting period of Ramadan approaching in early August, Asian suppliers to the Middle East expect demand to ease from this week as buyers would have already stocked up for the month.

“Usually, sales to the Middle East will slow a week or two ahead of the Ramadan fasting month. Trade will pick up once the fasting month is over,” said a Taiwanese EPS seller.

Packaging EPS is made into styrofoam for packaging consumer electronics, office equipment and food.

($1 = €0.71)

For more on polystyrene, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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