Asian PS sustained by firm feedstock styrene

24 April 2012 10:07  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asian polystyrene (PS) prices have been firming up on the back of buoyant feedstock styrene monomer (SM) values, traders said on Tuesday.

Firm SM prices at around $1,520/tonne (€1,155/tone) CFR China for the week ended 20 April have prompted PS makers to target higher resin prices.

SM prices have been on the uptrend since mid March on the back of tight regional availability due to several plant turnarounds in the region.

Achieving higher resin prices, however, has been an uphill task as demand in Asia remains persistently weak.

Nonetheless, a number of suppliers have raised offers by some $20-30/tonne last week despite the weak buying momentum.

The weak global economic conditions coupled with an expected slowdown in China have dampened sentiment of market players.

Demand for Asian made products remains weak this year and consumption of resins including PS has been lacklustre.

“Demand for PS is still weak but we have increased offers as margins are thin,” said a Korean producer.

Most suppliers have increased offers of PS to above $1,600/tonne CFR China last week, from the mid-to-high $1,500s/tonne CFR China in early April.

“Deals for PS are limited at above $1,600/tonne as buyers deemed them too high,” said a trader in Hong Kong.

End-users faced difficulty in passing on the high resin costs to end products. Some have switched to cheaper resins or recycled plastics to mitigate the elevated prices of pure resins.

PS is used for packaging, disposal utensils, toys as well as consumer electronics.

Major producers in Asia include Chimei Corp, Formosa Chemical and Fibre Corp, LG Chem, Kumho Petrochemical, Denka and Styrolution.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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