Europe EPS prices roll over in December

16 December 2011 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices in the European market remained stable in December, market sources said on Friday.

Values were assessed by ICIS at €1,390-1,435/tonne ($1,805-1,864) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

In some cases, producers reported that they had conceded minor reductions.

One source said it had done so for block grade but not for packaging grade material, as block is used as insulation in the construction industry and is therefore more susceptible to a seasonal slowdown in consumption.

However, the result was a rollover in December, with little purpose seen by players on either side of the market in battling for modest gains in a short month, characterised by relatively small volumes of business.

One large buyer said an agreement had been reached quickly without any real discussion, once the styrene monomer settlement was known to be a rollover.

EPS prices often fall in December if monomer numbers do not rise.

The absence of a noticeable drop this time has been largely due to the continued health of demand into December. Although consumption has now slowed down, it has been better than expected, assisted by the continuation of mild weather.

A producer said: “Demand has been quite good. The weather has helped quite a lot.”

It went on to say that there will now be a quiet period until activity resumes in January.

It echoed another producer’s statement that producer stocks going into the New Year will be low, but did not agree with its view that converters expect material to be abundantly available after the holidays.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Peter Gerrard
+44 208 652 3214

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