22 November 2012 20:25 [Source: ICB]
US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices rose on average by 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne, €70/tonne) in November, along with higher feedstock benzene prices, sources said.
The price increase came after the November benzene contract settled at a record high of $4.90/gal for the month, outpacing expectations by as much as a 10 cents.
The increase puts domestic prices in many cases higher than import prices, according to buyers, who said they were not buying much material from US producers for November.
"We are not going to buy," said one buyer. "We have got enough material to last through the end of the year, so we can hold off."
Other buyers agreed, saying they have been able to purchase Asian material for November delivery in the upper-90s cents/lb range, versus domestic prices above $1/lb.
CHEAPER KOREAN MATERIAL
"We are not paying over a dollar," said one buyer, who said it has been receiving regular offers for cheaper material from Korea. "We haven't been ordering anything [from domestic producers]."
One supplier agreed that demand for November had softened, adding that many buyers purchased extra material in October ahead of the increase.
"I don't think anyone is really interested in stocking inventory right now," said one supplier. "Nobody wants to buy any more than they can consume."
US EPS spot prices were assessed by ICIS at 102-107 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 100-105 cents/lb DEL for package material.
Major US EPS producers are BASF, Nova Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem and Nexkemia.
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