US EPS prices slide on lower feedstock, influx of imports

13 May 2014 20:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices have begun to slip lower based on a drop in feedstock benzene costs as well as the influence of some lower-priced Asian imports, sources said on Tuesday.

While some sources said they have seen as much as a 2 cent/lb ($44/tonne) decline, most market participants said they have seen a drop of around 1 cent/lb so far for the month.

The drop is based in part on lower feedstock benzene costs, which fell by 23 cents/gal in May to $4.57/gal.

There was also talk that some lower-priced Asian EPS imports, which were discussed as low as 95-97 cents/lb for delivery to the west coast, may have put some pressure on producers to lower prices.

“We have got several different Asian producers that are coming in quite a bit lower,” said one buyer. “We have placed quite a few orders.”

Producers said the price declines were not market-wide, but agreed that many buyers had seen some price erosion.

Demand continues to improve in both the packaging and the construction sectors.

However, most buyers said they are only buying as needed on the assumption that prices may fall further in June or July, because benzene prices typically fall in the summer months.

US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 103-107 cents/lb for package material and 105-109 cents/lb for block material.

Major North American EPS suppliers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Idesa and Polioles.

By: Michelle Klump
+1 713 525 2653

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