09 April 2013 20:50 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US expandable polystyrene (EPS) spot prices dropped by 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €51/tonne) for April, based on lower prices for feedstock benzene, sources said on Tuesday.
April benzene contract prices dropped by 33 cents/gal to settle at $4.36/gal, following weak demand, improved supply and weaker overseas benzene prices.
The April price drop will bring prices for many buyers below the $1/lb level, which is the lowest they have been since August 2012.
The lower price, along with slightly improving demand, is starting to bring some buyers back to the market, according to some sources.
"It's turning into a busy month," said one producer. "It's pretty on-par with where we were at about a year ago."
However, another producer and some buyers described demand as slightly below that of last year, adding that the expected boost from the construction sector has been late to arrive.
The price drop puts US prices lower on average than prices for Asian imports, sources said. Some west coast buyers said they were still seeing some slight advantage in purchasing Asian material, but freight costs have made Asian material too high to compete for most other regions, sources said.
US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 98-103 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 96-101 cents/lb for package material.
Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Polioles and Polidesa.
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