Mexico EPS prices rise in August on higher benzene

21 August 2012 23:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Mexico expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices rose on average by 5-6 cents/lb ($110-132/tonne, €89-107/tonne) in August, along with higher feedstock benzene and ethylene costs, sources said on Tuesday.

Producers had initially announced an increase of 7 cents/lb for all grades of EPS for 1 August, based on higher feedstock benzene prices. However, benzene contracts settled lower than expected at $4.60/gal, eroding some support for the entire increase.

Some buyers said they saw less of an increase, with one buyer saying prices rose between 3-4 cents/lb for August. However, most mid-sized buyers were believed to have seen an increase of at least 5 cents/lb, sources said.

The high prices caused demand to weaken during the month, according to buyers and suppliers. One supplier said demand in August was about 15% below normal levels for an average month.

Demand is expected to improve in September, which is the beginning of the traditional peak season for packaging, sources said.

Price ideas for September are mixed, with buyers expecting some decrease as feedstock styrene monomer costs fall, and other market participants predicting a rollover for the month.

Mexico EPS spot prices were assessed by ICIS at 115-119 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 111-115 cents/lb DEL for package material.

The US price range eased slightly with market participants described a slightly lower price range as suppliers responded to competitive offers.

US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 98-104 cents/lb DEL for block material and 96-102 cents/lb for package material.

($1 = €0.81)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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