Europe EPS producers cut production as record prices slow demand

14 September 2013 00:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Record-high September expandable polystyrene (EPS) pricing in Europe has slashed demand and forced producers to reduce production, sources said on Friday.

European EPS packaging, insulation and flame retardant insulation grade prices rose by €85-90/tonne to the record high of €1,775-1,835/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), due to increases in the upstream feedstock styrene monomer.

From August to September, European styrene rose by €85/tonne to €1,542/tonne FOB (free on board) Barge ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp).

EPS producers initially sought to raise prices much higher than the monomer increase, but lower demand, particularly in packaging grade material, meant they were only able to achieve slight increases above the monomer hike. 

Buyers and distributors said they are holding off from buying at this high price for as long as possible, running down inventories instead.

Several producers said they have reduced production in line with reduced demand. One said that demand is down by 10-15% compared with September 2012.

A buyer also said that demand from its end-user market has fallen by about 10% year on year.

By: Iain Packham

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