07 May 2013 16:47 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Petrobras Energia, the main polystyrene (PS) producer in Argentina, restarted its Zarate PS plant over the 5 May weekend after a maintenance turnaround and protracted talks with the labour unions, a company source said on Tuesday.
The plant stopped operations around 10 March, and was initially scheduled to resume operations on 26 April, but there was no agreement achieved in talks with the labour unions and the restart was delayed, the source said.
The Zarate plant has a nominal capacity of 65,000 tonnes/year.
The producer was supplying customers from inventories, reinforced with imported product from Brazil.
Supply has been normal during the outage, and it is expected that stocks will be gradually rebuilt as production of all grades increase.
Prices are steady in May at the same levels seen in April, but there is always the possibility of an adjustment to compensate for currency devaluation, if government officials approve.
The adjustment, if it happens, will not be in excess of 2%, the source said.
Current general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) prices in Argentina are in the range of $2,384-2,550/tonne (€1,812-1,938/tonne) DEL (delivered) while high impact polystyrene (HIPS) prices are at $2,519-2,707/tonne DEL, according to ICIS data.
Demand has softened in the last month with worries about the economy in view of growing inflation.
There are also persistent rumours that the company is looking for a buyer or a local partner to take a large portion of the assets.
($1 = €0.76)
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