One US PS grade rolls over, another rises 2 cents/lb for March

22 March 2012 21:22  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US polystyrene (PS) contracts settled at a rollover and at a 2 cent/lb hike ($44/tonne, €33/tonne), depending on the grade, as producers' proposals were only partially successful, sources said on Thursday.

General purpose polystyrene (GPPS) settled flat, while high impact polystyrene (HIPS) settled at the increase.

Producers had been seeking an increase of 2 cents/lb for GPPS and 4 cents/lb for HIPS.

Sources said with only a 3 cent/lb increase in March benzene contract prices, there was not enough of a justification for the full increase.

Suppliers were able to push through half of the nominated increase for HIPS as a result of rising polybutadiene rubber (BR) prices, sources said.

Polybutadiene rubber is used in the production of HIPS.

"At the time the announcements were made, benzene was escalating, but it ended up reversing a little bit to the point that 2 [cents/lb] and 4 [cents/lb] just weren't needed," one supplier said.

One buyer said some sort of an increase for HIPS was inevitable because of how much polybutadiene rubber costs have increased since the beginning of the year.

The buyer said it is hoping for a flat settlement on HIPS in April, adding that it is difficult to pass on back-to-back increases to downstream customers.

With the increase, US PS contract prices for February are at 89–92 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for bulk GPPS and at 100–103 cents/lb DEL for bulk HIPS, as assessed by ICIS.

Major North American PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution, Total Petrochemicals and Resirene.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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