28 October 2013 00:00 [Source: ICB]
US expandable polystyrene (EPS) spot prices rose by 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €49/tonne) for October, based on strong seasonal demand and tight supply, sources said on 15 October.
Activity in both the construction and packaging sectors remains seasonally strong, according to buyers and suppliers.
That robust demand, combined with tight supply caused by some recent plant outages as well as low inventory levels among some producers, helped push through the price increase, sources said.
“There was really no pushback from customers on pricing,” said one producer.
Buyers agreed there was little resistance to the price increase based on the fact that EPS resin has been scarce in October.
“If you try to add a load without pre-ordering, you don’t get it,” said one buyer. “Through October, [suppliers] are booked.”
Asian import prices that remain at par, or slightly higher than US prices, were another factor that helped producers push through the price hike, sources said.
“Basically, they are the same as US pricing, and actually, Asian styrene monomer is a little bit higher than in the US, so I’m not buying,” said one buyer.
EPS pricing is expected to remain stable in November, with some buyers saying they are hoping for a decrease by December as demand slows with the end of the construction season.
US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 100-105 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 98-103 cents/lb for package material. In September, producers said they would postpone hikes on higher competition.
Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Polioles and Polidesa.
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