14 June 2012 21:59 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--June prices in the US polystyrene (PS) market are expected to fall based on a price decline for feedstocks benzene and butadiene, sources said on Thursday.
Price ideas were mixed among producers, with two producers heard to offer decreases of 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) for general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and 3 cents/lb for high impact polystyrene (HIPS), while a third producer offered a decrease of 2 cents/lb for both grades, sources said.
The price drops are based on a 10 cent/gal decrease in June benzene contracts, which impacted both the HIPS and GPPS sectors, and a 27% drop in June butadiene (BD) prices in June, which impacts the HIPS sector, sources said. Polybutadiene rubber is used to make HIPS.
Demand, which had improved in May over April, was continuing to be strong into June, according to one producer. While May and June tend to be seasonally stronger months, the producer said some of the demand may be related to lower prices.
Pricing indications for July were uncertain, particularly with the recent volatility in feedstock benzene prices, sources said. Spot benzene prices in May moved as low as $3.80/gal before rebounding back up above $4.31/gal in the first week of June.
One producer said if July benzene contracts move up, it is possible that producers will have to raise PS prices again.
Before any price change, US PS prices were assessed by ICIS at 89-92 cents/lb for GPPS DEL (delivered) and 100-103 cents/lb for bulk HIPS DEL.
Major US PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total Petrochemicals.
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