12 July 2013 09:30 [Source: ICB]
June contract prices in the US polystyrene (PS) market have settled at a rollover, based on a slight decrease in feedstock benzene costs, sources said on 3 July.
Benzene contract prices for June settled down by 5 cents/gal from May levels. Sources said that was not enough to justify a decrease for PS, but it was enough to keep prices from rising.
While two producers had agreed to a flat settlement earlier in the month, a third producer was attempting to push for a 2 cent/lb increase for the month in an effort to improve margins.
However, sources said those efforts eventually failed, with the producer agreeing to meet competitive offers from other producers.
Price direction for July appears to be headed for a slight decrease, with at least one producer heard to have offered a reduction of 2 cents/lb for the month, based on a 35 cent/gal drop in feedstock benzene contracts for July.
One buyer said such a drop could mean as much as a 4 cent/lb drop in PS prices on a cost-basis. However, the buyer agreed that producers will try to hold on to some of the cost relief in an effort to improve margins.
US PS prices were assessed by ICIS at 99-101 cents/lb for bulk general purpose PS (GPPS) DEL (delivered) and 109-111 cents/lb for bulk high impact PS (HIPS) DEL. Major US PS producers include Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Total Petrochemicals.
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