Asia EPS suppliers raise offers by $50/tonne on buoyant SM costs

10 July 2013 09:01  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Suppliers of expandable polystyrene (EPS) resins in Asia raised their offers by some $50/tonne (€39/tonne) to reflect the surge in cost of feedstock styrene monomer (SM), market sources said on Wednesday.

EPS resins prices are being quoted at around $1,900/tonne CFR (cost and freight) China - near their record high.

“Buying interest will be dampened by the high prices but higher offers are inevitable as feedstock costs have risen sharply,” said a producer in Taiwan.

With customers hesitant to commit, some EPS makers are looking at cutting production further, industry sources said.

China’s EPS plants are currently operating at an average rate of 57% for the week ended 5 July, unchanged from June, they said.

With prices of feedstock SM are now at around $1,800/tonne CFR China, a number of EPS makers have stopped making news offers as they ponder higher prices.

“EPS makers will likely raise offers above $1,900/tonne in the near term but buyers’ resistance will become more evident”, said an EPS distributor in southeast Asia.

Buyers from other regions like the Middle East and Europe are also finding Asian resins increasingly expensive, dampening their buying appetite.

“Customers in Turkey are hesitant to accept offers from Chinese and Taiwanese makers as they deemed prices to be too high,” said another EPS distributor in Asia.

Some buyers are heard to be considering other types of packaging material made from cheaper resins like polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), to curb their requirement for EPS resins, which are used to make styrofoam for packaging purposes.

Meanwhile, demand for block flame retardant (FR) EPS used to make insulation panels is also lacklustre. Tight credit conditions in the key China market has dampened the construction and infrastructure sectors, leading to weaker consumption of FR resins.

“EPS demand from the construction sector is relatively weak despite the current construction peak season,” said a Chinese producer.

Major EPS producers include the Loyal Group, Ming Dih Group and Taita Chemical of Taiwan and Wuxi Xingda Chemicals and Garson Chemicals of China.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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