12 June 2012 21:52 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices lost ground this week, based on lower feedstock costs and pressure from lower-priced Asian imports, sources said on Tuesday.
US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 94-99 cents/lb ($2,072-2,183/tonne, €1,658-1,746/tonne) for block material and 92-97 cents/lb for package material.
Most buyers saw a 2 cent/lb decrease, according to buyers and suppliers. However, some buyers said they saw prices fall by as much as 3 cents/lb.
The prices slid along with feedstock values, including benzene contracts, which fell by 10 cents/gal in June to $4.11/gal. Price drops for feedstocks ethylene and crude oil have also applied downward pressure on EPS prices, sources said.
One producer said it had hoped to hold prices steady through June because it will not see the benefit of lower feedstock costs until July. However, the producer said it was presented with too many competitive offers.
"We started to get a lot of competitives, both from domestic (producers) and imports, so we brought the prices down," the producer said.
With the price of Asian styrene monomer (SM) falling as low as $1,250/tonne, Asian EPS prices have fallen as much as $40/tonne. Asian EPS material was being offered to US buyers at around the 90-92 cent/lb range, according to buyers and traders.
The drop in EPS prices was not expected to boost demand significantly, as buyers are expecting prices to fall further in the coming weeks. One buyer said it expects to see at least another 2 cent/lb reduction in July.
Major US and Canadian producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem and Nexkemia.
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