US EPS spot prices rise in August on higher benzene

14 August 2012 21:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US expandable polystyrene (EPS) spot prices have increased on average by 5–6 cents/lb ($110–132/tonne, €89–107/tonne) in August, on higher feedstock benzene and ethylene prices, sources said on Tuesday.

Prices were at a wide range, with some producers increasing prices by 5 cents/lb and at least one holding firm on a 7 cent/lb increase, sources said.

Producers had initially announced increases of between 7–8 cents/lb for all grades of EPS for 1 August, based on expectations that benzene prices would settle above $5/gal.

Although August benzene contracts settled lower than expected at $4.60/gal, ethylene contract prices increased in July by 3 cents/lb, helping to bolster higher prices, producers said.

The higher prices are "a gut reaction to the benzne prices", said one buyer, who said prices probably increased a little too much during the month. "They were trying to protect themselves, and we, the moulders, went for it."

The buyer said it expects prices will slide a little bit in September, as feedstock costs begin to ease.

One producer said it believes prices will remain flat in September, based on increasing ethylene costs.

US EPS spot prices were assessed by ICIS at 99–105 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 97–103 cents/lb DEL for package material.  

Major US EPS producers are BASF, Nova Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem and Nexkemia.

 ($1 = €0.81)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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