14 September 2013 00:01 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European polystyrene (PS) prices in September have settled in line with the upstream monomer hike at the start of the month, sources said on Friday.
Buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach, running down stocks before settling contracts, because the record-high prices leave them with thin margins, as end-users struggle to accept price increases.
General purpose polystyrene (GPPS) settled up by €85/tonne to €1,705-1,750/tonne and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) settled up €80-85/tonne to €1,795-1,845/tonne, for September from August.
During the same period, styrene rose €85/tonne to €1,542/tonne FOB (free on board) Barge ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp).
“PS has never been more expensive than this September,” one major producer said.
“Customers prefer not to buy. They’re running down stock,” said another.
Both producers have adjusted production in line with lower demand, but declined to say by how much.
One GPPS buyer said it has reduced its order volumes by 40% in September, due to the large price hike and the difficulty in passing on the increases.
Two others noted that they have seen at least one major GPPS customer examine the possibility of using alternative materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The concern for buyers is that this is a growing trend that will see their end-use markets evaporate.
Producers said demand is broadly in line with their reduced expectations, considering the large price hike, but below September 2102 levels.
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