Price and market trends: Higher SM prices lift Asia EPS offers despite poor EPS demand

14 December 2012 10:07  [Source: ICB]

Strong performance in the Asia styrene monomer (SM) sector has prompted producers of expandable polystyrene (EPS) to increase their offers.

Producers in northeast Asia mostly quoted EPS prices at $1,810-1,820/tonne CFR NE Asia in early December, up from $1,780-1,790/tonne CFR NE Asia at the end of November. "SM prices have gone up again, so we have to raise EPS prices to maintain workable margins", said a Taiwanese producer.

Asia EPSSM prices rebounded to $1,650/tonne CFR China amid tight supply. Prices were up from around $1,580/tonne CFR China a month ago, according to ICIS data.

However, EPS sellers said that buying interest was weak for higher offers. "Buyers were shocked by the price increase as the market is currently in a demand lull season", said another Taiwanese producer.

Most end-users of EPS have completed their production requirements for the year and are not keen to stock up. Demand for EPS from the Chinese construction sector has also weakened as cold weather has set in.

In southeast Asia, EPS distributors quoted resins prices at $1,800/tonne CFR SE Asia but sold parcels at around $1,780/tonne CFR.

"The suppliers are targeting $1,820/tonne [in early December] which will be difficult to achieve as demand is slow currently", said a SE Asian distributor.

Producers continued to target a $80-90/tonne premium for the flame retardant (FR) resins over the normal EPS but buyers continued to resist these high prices.

EPS is made into styro-foam for packaging and insulation panels for buildings and roads.

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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