19 July 2013 10:41 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--The positive trade balance enjoyed by the European expandable polystyrene (EPS) industry increased substantially in the Spring of this year, compared with the same season of 2012, Eurostat data revealed this week.
The latest figures show the volume of imports and exports for the member countries of the EU for the months of April and May. Prior to this period much of the continent had continued to suffer from a prolonged and quite severe winter, which had a negative effect on production and consumption of EPS.
The improvement in the trade balance from the point of view of European producers was clearly due to a slump in the quantity of imports, rather than export activity. The volumes of exports in April and May, at 21,164 tonnes, were almost unchanged from the tonnages for the same two months of 2012, registering a nominal decline of about 0.6%.
By contrast, imports were down by more than half, compared with April and May last year. A drop from 14,244 tonnes in April/May 2012 to only 6,283 tonnes in April/May 2013 meant that the ratio of exports to imports (already positive last year) leapt from 1.5 to 1, to 3.4 to 1.
While it is inadvisable to read too much into very short-term numbers, the latest data probably reflect the recent lacklustre condition of the European market for EPS.
Not only has poor weather only given way to better conditions in the last few weeks, but also the underlying background for the construction industry has dismayed many players on both sides of the market, which is heavily reliant upon sales of material into the insulation sector.
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