Price and market trends: Asia EPS makers cut offers on weak SM market, poor demand

14 February 2014 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Suppliers of expandable polystyrene (EPS) in Asia have lowered their offers by $10/tonne, taking into account recent weakness in the upstream styrene monomer (SM) market, industry sources said on 6 February.

EPS resins are being offered this week at around $1,850/tonne CFR (cost and freight) Asia, they said, adding that price pressures may continue amid a lull in demand. Feedstock SM prices have stayed below $1,700/tonne CFR China since 10 January, according to ICIS.

“We reduced [EPS] offers by a little this week as SM prices remained weak,” said an EPS producer in Taiwan.

Overall demand has not picked up, with players in China away on holiday for the Lunar New Year. Buying interest may emerge later, when trading resumes in the key Chinese market, according to EPS suppliers. 

“Some buyers could be looking at the market from next week, although overall buying momentum could still be quite slow,” said another supplier from Taiwan.

China’s exports are expected to remain slow until the third quarter, when production typically peaks. From the construction sector, activities are only due to improve mid-year.

While there are expectations that EPS demand will improve next week, market players are ruling out any significant increase.

“Some demand could emerge, but given the weak global economy, demand in SE Asia could stay tepid into the second quarter,” said a Malaysia-based distributor.

Meanwhile, buyers are also cautious as they expect softer resin prices in the near term on the back of weak SM values.

By: Clive Ong
+65 6780 4359

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