Asia EPS stable despite recent falls in styrene values

11 August 2011 07:32  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices continue to hold steady this week, despite the recent volatility in feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices, as buyers have left the market amid an uncertain outlook, producers said on Thursday.

EPS prices were stable at around $1,700/tonne (€1,190/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China for packaging resins and around $1,780/tonne CFR China for flame retardant types.

“Offers from major suppliers are mostly unchanged this week,” said a Taiwanese producer.

Sellers were unwilling to cut prices as margins for EPS remain thin. Others believe that lower prices would not draw buyers forward amid the current market turmoil.

“Customers are keeping away this week, there is no point in lowering prices as it would not translate into more sales,” said a Chinese producer

With the ongoing market turmoil and weak economic outlook in the US and eurozone, EPS suppliers expect slower demand in the near term.

“The export markets are mired in economic problems and hence demand for China-made products would likely decline this year,” said the Chinese producer.

At the same time, with countries in the Middle East and southeast Asia observing the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, trade of EPS into those regions has also slowed down, sellers said.

“We are not buying at the moment as business is slow in August and there is a possibility that prices could decline in the near term,” said an end-user in southeast Asia.

EPS resin is the raw material for styrofoam, which is used for packaging and insulation in buildings and roads.

($1 = €0.70)

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By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359



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