25 January 2013 20:27 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--January prices in the US polystyrene (PS) market increased by 2-3 cents/lb ($44-66/tonne, €33-50/tonne), based on higher feedstock benzene prices, sources said on Friday.
Producers initially had nominated an increase of 3 cents/lb for all grades of PS. In some cases, producers were able to implement the entire increase, while in other cases, they agreed to a lesser increase of 2 cents/lb, sources said.
The proposed increases were based on another record-high benzene settlement for January at $5.16/gal. However, weak demand and a reduction in December ethylene contract prices created some room for price negotiation, sources said.
One producer said it had settled most of its contracts at an increase of only 2 cents/lb for the month, while other producers said they saw a mixture of 2-3 cent/lb increases.
"I have seen plus 2 cents/lb in very limited cases," said one producer, who said it believed the 3 cent/lb increase was more market-wide.
Buyers also reported a mixture, with some buyers saying they saw the entire increase and others saying they settled at an increase of 2 cents/lb.
The outlook for February was uncertain, based on volatile benzene prices. One producer said rising ethyene prices were causing upward pressure, which could make it necessary to implement an additional price increase.
US PS prices were assessed by ICIS at 102-105 cents/lb for bulk general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) DEL (delivered) and 112-115 cents/lb for bulk high impact polystyrene (HIPS) DEL.
Major US PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total Petrochemicals.
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