Price and market trends: High Asia EPS prices deter buyers; sellers bring down offers

09 August 2013 09:25  [Source: ICB]

The Ramadan festival has also slowed down trades and that is expected to persist this month

Spot offers for expandable polystyrene (EPS) resins in Asia have fallen as buyers resist continued price spikes amid weak demand, industry sources said on 1 August.

EPS quotes are now at $1,960/tonne (€1,470/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) NE (northeast) Asia, pulling back from record levels of more than $2,000/tonne the previous week as sellers attempt to stoke buying interest, market sources said.

Firm EPS prices have started to deter demand, with some buyers substituting EPS with other cheaper resins used for packaging such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), market sources said. PE and PP are currently priced $400-500/tonne lower than EPS, they said.

A slowing in Chinese exports, given continued weakness in the US and eurozone markets, has curbed demand for EPS. Within China, credit restraints are dampening activities in the construction sector, aggravating the weakness in EPS demand.

"Buying momentum for EPS has slowed markedly with prices at above $1,900/tonne," said a southeast Asia-based distributor. Ramadan has also slowed trades that are expected to persist this month.

EPS prices have gone up to record levels above $2,000

/tonne on the back of soaring cost of feedstock styrene monomer (SM), industry sources said.

Spot SM prices are trading in the low- to mid-$1,800/tonne CFR China levels in the week ending 4 August.

"Several makers have offered at above $2,000/tonne CFR NE Asia but actual business has not reached that level yet," said a Taiwanese producer.

In the week ended 26 July, trades were done in the low-$1,900/tonne CFR NE Asia levels, while sellers appeared determined to achieve prices at above $1,950/tonne CFR NE Asia.

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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