28 June 2012 23:12 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The June price range in the US polystyrene (PS) market widened, as buyers saw general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) prices fall by 1-2 cents/lb ($22-44/tonne, €18-35/tonne) and prices for high impact polystyrene (HIPS) fall by 2-3 cents/lb, sources said on Thursday.
Price ideas had been mixed from producers, with two producers offering decreases of 1 cent/lb for GPPS and 3 cents/lb for HIPS, while a third producer offered a decrease of 2 cents/lb for both grades.
Producers said that while they met some competitive offers in some cases, for the most part, they stuck with their original price positions.
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% decline in June butadiene (BD) prices, which impacts the HIPS sector, sources said. Polybutadiene rubber is used to make HIPS.
Continuing volatility in the feedstock benzene market has some market participants expecting an increase in July prices. Spot benzene prices were bid on Thursday at $4.25/gal, down from a wide range of $4.35-4.75/gal on Wednesday.
"It is a volatile market," said one producer, speaking of the benzene market. "We don't know what it is going to do - it's crazy."
Buyers said they were not sure what to expect for July pricing, adding that they are hoping for price stability.
With the wider range, US PS prices were assessed by ICIS at 87-91 cents/lb for bulk GPPS DEL (delivered) and 97-101 cents/lb for bulk HIPS DEL.
Major US PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total Petrochemicals.
($1 = €0.80)
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