US January EPS prices rise 4, 6 cents/lb on higher feedstocks

17 January 2012 18:13  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--North American expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices rose this week, as January price hikes began to be implemented, market sources said on Tuesday.

US prices rose on average by 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne, €70/tonne) for package, or non-modified grades of EPS that do not include a flame retardant, and 6 cents/lb for block, or modified EPS grades that use a flame retardant, sources said.

The Mexican EPS market also saw January prices increase by 4 cents/lb for non-modified EPS and 6 cents/lb for modified EPS, sources said.

The new prices include a 4 cent/lb differential between modified and non-modified EPS in the Mexico market, and a 2 cent/lb differential between the two grades in the US market.

While there typically has not been a differential between modified and non-modified grades in the North American market, producers said the higher price for the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) made an increase necessary.

The remaining increase was related to higher feedstock costs, including benzene contracts, which settled up 70 cents/gal to $3.70/gal in January, with spot prices rising above $4/gal this week.

"I don't think anyone has missed the wild volatility in feedstocks," said one supplier, explaining why it had no trouble implementing the price increases.

Buyers agreed prices had risen, adding that they will be raising their own prices to pass some of the higher costs onto customers.

"We are seeing moulders starting to raise pricing – a sure sign most of us feel [the price increase] is taking place," a buyer said.

US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 88-94 cents/lb for package material and 90-96 cents/lb for block material.

Mexico EPS prices were assessed at 105-107 cents/lb for package material and 109-111 cents/lb for package material.

Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Idesa and Polioles.

($1 = €0.79)

For more on expandable polystyrene visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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