US, Mexico PS producers announce October price increase

23 September 2013 21:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Even though the September polystyrene (PS) contract has not fully settled, Americas Styrenics, Styrolution and Resirene from Mexico have announced to their US customers a 3 cent/lb ($66/tonne, €49/tonne) increase in all grades of PS for the month of October claiming inventories are low, market sources said Monday.

Americas Styrenics announced late last week that increase, effective 1 October, according to a copy of a letter sent to customers which was obtained by ICIS on Monday.

“As inventories are unusually low, please communicate your orders as soon as possible along with an updated forecast for November deliveries,” the letter, confirmed with several sources, said.

Styrolution is another company seeking a 3 cent/lb increase for October for all grades of PS, several sources have said. 

Resirene, a Mexican PS producer that exports to some clients in the US, has also announced a price increase of 3 cents/lb for October for clients both in Mexico and the US, several market sources also said.

It has not been possible to learn if Total Petrochemicals is also moving with an October increase. Several sources said they had not heard as of Monday morning of any company increase announcement for that month.

“Total has not sent a letter [for October] yet. If they don’t go up, the others may not either,” one source said, explaining that competitors would not likely want to eventually lose business to Total and would likely match their offer if they say they will not raise prices.

The increase proposal comes as inventories are low, following a force majeure situation in a PS plant in California, in addition to an announcement of a scheduled shutdown of part of a PS plant in Ohio, both owned by Americas Styrenics.

Americas Styrenics last week declared force majeure from its Torrance, California plant with 115,000 tonnes/year capacity, saying that as a result of a power failure, it had to shut it down in mid-September and that it will not restart it until 25 September.

Americas Styrenics is also planning to shut down one of three existing lines at its Marietta, Ohio styrene and PS plant.

The announcement of the October increase comes as talks for the PS September contract settlement are being finalised with the likelihood that a similar increase could be accepted by the market at least for the crystal, or general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) grades.

As of Monday morning, it was not possible to confirm with all sides if the contract discussion for PS for September had reached a settlement. Some sell side sources said GPPS had settled with also a 3 cent/lb increase while information on the high impact polysterene (HIPS) grade was not clear. At least part of the market has agreed to pay increases of HIPS ranging from 1 cent/lb to 3 cents/lb, the source added.

Americas Styrenics is a joint venture equally owned by Styron and Chevron Phillips Chemical.

By: Renzo Pipoli
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