US PS Feb prices rise on higher benzene and tight supply

27 February 2014 20:46  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US February polystyrene (PS) contract prices have risen 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne) on higher feedstock benzene costs as well as tight supply, sources said on Thursday.

With the increase, US February PS prices were at 112-114 cents/lb for bulk GPPS (general purpose polystyrene) DEL (delivered) and at 120-122 cents/lb for bulk HIPS (high-impact PS) DEL, as assessed by ICIS.

The increase is the third price hike in three months and takes prices to “an unprecedented high”, according to a distributor.

Producers were able to push through the increase based on rising feedstock costs, including February benzene contracts, which rose by 25 cents/gal to $5.09/gal.

Prices were also supported by tight supply in February, with production outages earlier in the month caused by cold weather as well as difficulty by PS producers in obtaining styrene.

Styrene delivery by barge was hampered earlier in the month because barges had been having trouble navigating some rivers that were frozen, while delivery by rail had also been slowed because of bad weather, sources said.

Market participants were uncertain about March price direction, with some buyers hoping for an opportunity for a decrease. Other market participants said that it appears that flat pricing is more likely for the month.

Major US PS producers include Total, Styrolution and Americas Styrenics.

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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