North American EPS producer seeks Oct price hike

02 October 2012 15:28  [Source: ICIS news]

This is EPSHOUSTON (ICIS)--A North American expandable polystyrene (EPS) producer has announced a price increase of 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne, €69/tonne) for October, based on higher feedstock prices, sources said on Tuesday.

BASF announced a 4 cent/lb increase, effective on 11 October, sources said. At least one other producer was heard to have made a similar announcement. However, that announcement could not be confirmed.

The proposed increase is based on a 20 cent/gal jump in October benzene contract prices, as well as increases in ethylene prices, sources said.

The increase matches one previously made by Mexico's Polioles, which announced a 4 cent/lb increase effective on 1 October, based on rising feedstock costs.

"It is really the right time for domestic manufacturers to increase their prices because of the higher raw materials," said one supplier.

The supplier added that even with the increases, domestic material would still be competitive with Asian imports, which have been higher in recent weeks because of higher Asian styrene prices.

However, some buyers said they are still seeing competitively priced imports, particularly from South Korea.

"I do not think the increase will fly," said one buyer, who said it is still buying imported material.

Buyers have argued that there is little justification for an increase, because EPS prices did not fall in September when benzene contract prices dropped by 40 cents/gal from August levels.

The new October benzene contract rate of $4.40/gal is still below the August record high price of $4.60/gal, yet EPS prices are at the same level as they were in August.

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

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

Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Polioles and Polidesa.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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