Europe May EPS contract prices fall slightly on lower styrene

17 May 2013 20:10  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European expandable polystyrene (EPS) contract prices have fallen slightly in May following an €11/tonne decrease in the styrene monomer contract price, players said on Friday.

Feedback from both sides of the market showed that contract settlements generally ranged from rollovers to decreases of up to €10/tonne, with the average decrease at €5/tonne ($6/tonne).

No increases in prices were heard, even though some producers had initially targeted price rises in an effort to improve margins. Falls of up to €15/tonne were heard from the buy side in a few cases. The premium between standard grade and flame retardant EPS remains at €30/tonne, based on market feedback.

Demand was said to have improved in May, following poor offtake from January to April that was partly caused by poor weather conditions. However, players said demand is still not as strong as would be expected in a normal May and lower than it was in May 2012.

A buyer said the improved demand was moving the market to a more balanced position. However, a seller said although there is generally no problem in getting material, there may be some delays from some suppliers because they may have been surprised by the pick-up in demand. Another seller said demand had picked up at the end of April and carried through into May. 

The improved demand is expected to continue into June, when a clearer picture of the market will emerge as May has been affected by the number of public holidays during the month.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Glynn Garlick

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