Expandable polystyrene Prices, markets & analysis
For those looking to keep abreast of the global Expandable polystyrene market, our independent, unbiased pricing information, news and market analysis is an invaluable resource.
Whether you buy or sell Expandable polystyrene or related products, you need to know about the prices and the factors driving the prices in the global Expandable polystyrene market as they happen. Our network of price reporters throughout Asia, Europe and the US provide key local insights. We collate this intelligence into daily and weekly price reports, ensuring you have the up-to-date information you need at all times.
Expandable polystyrene Overview
EPS is a rigid cellular form of polystyrene, possessing properties that make it ideal as a packaging mechanism and also in insulation.
The key drivers in the market at in Europe are the upstream cost of feedstock, which is styrene monomer and the level of business in the construction industry downstream.
Each month, the monthly styrene barge contract is the kicking off point for discussions between EPS producers and their customers.
Because the EPS industry is related to the construction sector, it can be very seasonal and that seasonality can be accentuated by long, severe winters which dampen down demand quite considerably. However, the market is a resilient one and prices and consumption can pick up quite strongly.
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Expandable polystyrene news and market information products from ICIS
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Upstream of Expandable polystyrene
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Expandable polystyrene: Market overview
The relative importance of expandable polystyrene (EPS) in insulation and packaging varies by region. Packaging for export industries is especially significant in Asia, while insulation takes centre stage in North America and Europe.
The underlying case for EPS in Europe remains in place, but the weak economic background in 2013 has prevented producers from keeping pace with styrene monomer (SM) prices. Their margins have suffered in consequence.
Prices in Asia have risen, mostly because of rising SM costs. However, weak Chinese exports of finished goods amid to the US and the eurozone has curbed demand for EPS. Also, slower than expected construction in China has dampened demand for flame retardant (FR) grade EPS.
In the US, prices remained generally stable from mid-May to mid-August. With less competition from imports, domestic buyers shifted more to local producers, who were able to hold prices steady. Demand has improved, as the construction season has ramped up, although sales are still behind 2012 levels.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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Expandable polystyrene news & analysis
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About Expandable polystyrene
Expandable polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid cellular form of polystyrene (PS) with good thermal insulation and shock absorbing properties, high compressive strength, low weight and resistance to moisture.
Building and construction applications are the largest outlet for EPS. Large quantities are used to make insulation foam for closed cavity walls, roofs and floor insulation. EPS foam also finds uses in road construction, bridges, drainage, flotation and sound insulation.
The other main application of EPS is in packaging. Food items such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry can be packed with EPS. The good shock absorbency of EPS makes is suitable for the packaging of delicate electronic goods.
Other uses for EPS include providing protection in crash helmets and as decoration in design work.
Upstream of Expandable polystyrene
Downstream of Expandable polystyrene