US PS prices mostly steady in March on stable styrene

29 March 2013 16:13  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--March prices in the US polystyrene (PS) market were assessed as flat on Friday, based on generally steady styrene prices.

While some buyers said they saw a slight decrease in prices during the month, most buyers and producers agreed that any decrease was not a market-wide move.

March styrene contracts have not settled yet, but market participants are expecting them to settle flat to slightly down for the month. Any downward movement would be based on an 11 cent/gal drop in March benzene contracts to $4.69/gal.

Some buyers said they were fine with the flat settlement in March, adding that it was better to see prices hold steady, rather than drop by 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €17/tonne) or less during the month.

"We went for a little more stability this month," said one buyer, adding that downstream customers would rather see steady pricing than constant small drops or increases.

Prices were expected to fall in April, based on continuing decreases in the feedstock benzene price. April benzene contracts settled at $4.36/gal during the week, falling by 33 cents/gal on weak demand, improved supply and weaker benzene prices overseas.

Some buyers have said they expect to see PS prices drop by as much as 2-3 cents/lb in April.

US PS prices were assessed by ICIS at 100-102 cents/lb for bulk GPPS DEL (delivered) and 110-112 cents/lb for bulk HIPS DEL.

Major US PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total Petrochemicals.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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