17 January 2012 19:14 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--North American expandable polystyrene (EPS) producers have announced price increases of between 5–6 cents/lb ($110–132/tonne, €87–104/tonne) for February, based on higher feedstock prices, sources said on Tuesday.
NOVA Chemicals announced a price increase of 5 cents/lb for all grades of EPS, effective on 1 February, according to a 16 January customer letter obtained by ICIS.
Flint Hills Resources was believed to have announced a similar increase, sources said.
Mexico EPS producer Polioles announced a 6 cent/lb increase for all grades of EPS, effective on 1 February, according to a 17 January customer letter obtained by ICIS.
Other North American EPS producers were expected to follow with similar price increase announcements, sources said.
The proposed February increases follow successful implementation of a mid-January price hike of between 4–6 cents/lb, depending upon the grade.
Producers said continuing pressure from feedstocks, including benzene above $4/gal and higher ethylene prices, have forced them to ask for another price bump.
However, buyers said they did not believe current costs support another significant increase on the back of a January increase.
"We just don't see the justification for it yet," said one buyer.
While demand is stronger than expected in January, the buyer said further price hikes could suppress demand in February and March.
US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 88–94 cents/lb ($1,940–2,072/tonne, €1533–1,637/tonne) for package material and 90–96 cents/lb for block material.
Mexico EPS prices were assessed by ICIS 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)
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