Mideast PS March offers rolled over from Feb on high SM values

28 February 2013 09:30  [Source: ICIS news]

PS is used for packaging, toys and consumer electronicsSINGAPORE (ICIS)--Polystyrene (PS) producers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region have rolled over their offer prices to the Middle East markets for March from February, market sources said on Thursday.

A continued firmness in feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices led the PS makers to maintain higher PS offers for March-shipping cargoes, they added.

Offers for general purpose PS (GPPS) were maintained stable from February at $2,030-2,040/tonne (€1,543-1,550/tonne) DEL (delivered) GCC for March-loading cargoes.

High impact PS (HIPS) cargoes, too, were steady at $2,230-2,240/tonne DEL GCC for March shipments.

March offers to the East Mediterranean (East Med) markets stood at $2,050/tonne DEL East Med for GPPS and $2,270/tonne DEL for HIPS respectively, unchanged from February prices.

Earlier this month, offers for imported GPPS cargoes to the Middle East ranged at $1,940-2,000/tonne CFR Middle East in the week ended 22 February, while HIPS cargoes from Asia were offered at $2,020-2,090/tonne CFR East Med for February and early March shipments in the same period.

PS prices in the region have been on a steady uptrend since August 2012, on account of high styrene monomer (SM) prices.

Consequently, most Middle East PS converters preferred to purchase on a requirement basis, instead of building up stocks.

Styrene prices in China were assessed at $1,715-1,725/tonne CFR China on 27 February, according to ICIS data.

However, unlike GCC producers who have rolled over their offers, the  Asian PS producers have targeted a $20-30/tonne increase in PS offers for March over February to account for the high styrene monomer (SM) prices.

PS demand in the GCC as well as East Med regions continues to be strictly on a need-to basis, amid the high PS offer prices.

In the East Med markets, the GCC producers’ offers for March-shipping cargoes drew lukewarm response on account of the high offer prices.

Additionally, a number of converters were heard to be considering to substitute HIPS with alternatives like polypropylene (PP) for applications such as disposable containers.

“Packaging applications can use PP, which today is almost $500/tonne cheaper than HIPS, and converters want to look at substituting HIPS with PP,” a regional trader said.

ICIS data showed that injection-grade PP prices in the Middle East markets were at $1,560-1,620/tonne CFR Middle East, while film-grade PP was traded at $1,580-1,640/tonne CFR Middle East, in the week ended 22 February.

A continued firmness in PS offers has forced Middle East converters to look for alternatives to polystyrene, which is likely to affect PS demand significantly in the near-term.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Veena Pathare
+65 6780 4327

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