15 April 2014 19:57 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)—Mexico expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices have increased by 3 cents/lb as producers pushed through a price increase, despite a slight drop in feedstock costs, sources said on Tuesday.
Producers had implemented the increase to many Mexico buyers in February, but were not able to fully implement it to all buyers until April because of competition with US producers. US producers kept prices flat in February and March, but raised prices by 3 cents/lb in April.
The price increase came despite a 15 cent/gal drop in feedstock benzene contracts for April. Producers said the increase was necessary to improve margins, which were squeezed during the run-up in benzene prices in December, January and February.
Demand in Mexico was sluggish for much of the first quarter, particularly in the construction sector, which is dependent upon government financing for low-income housing.
However, the packaging sector is stronger and continues to improve, according to buyers and suppliers.
Mexico EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 115.50-118.50 cents/lb ($2,546-2,612/tonne) for package material and 119.50-122.50 cents/lb for block material, before any discounts.
Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Idesa and Polioles.
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