Asia polystyrene prices stagnate on weak SM

29 November 2011 03:16  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--The spot prices of polystyrene (PS) in Asia remain weak amid persistently poor demand and weak performance in the feedstock styrene monomer (SM) sector, producers said on Tuesday.

General purpose PS (GPPS) prices have been hovering in the low-to-mid $1,400s/tonne (€1,050s/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) China since the second half of October.

SM spot prices fell to below $1,300/tonne CFR China for the week ended 25 November, but PS sellers are unwilling to lower their resin prices.

“Our feedstock were purchased at higher prices previously, hence margins would be squeezed if resin prices drop from current levels”, said Taiwanese producer.

However, PS prices could not be increased from this level although availability has become tighter as producers curbed output over the past two months to prevent a stockpile.

“The lower output at PS plants could not lift prices as demand is weak in the fourth quarter,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

Prices of expandable PS (EPS) have been at the low $1,500s/tonne CFR China since the second half of October, when China’s manufacturing season for exports ended.

“There is little demand to lift prices from current levels, in fact, downward pressure remains to bring prices lower potentially,” said an east China EPS producer.

In general, EPS manufacturers expect the weak demand in the region to persist into the first quarter of next year.

The export markets in Europe and the Middle East are also weak with few enquiries emanating from these regions.

“The eurozone debt crisis has curbed demand for Asian EPS resins for the past several months,” said a Taiwanese producer.

Major EPS producers in Asia include Taiwan’s Loyal Group and Ming Dih Group, and China’s Wuxi Xingda Foam Plastics and Garson Chemicals.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Clive Ong
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