The comprehensive and extensive coverage of Polystyrene, compiled by our team of locally-based reporters gives market players up-to-date and in-depth independent and unbiased pricing information. The weekly price assessments are covered in Asia, Middle East, CIS, Europe, the US and Latin America.
There are also margin reports and 12-month rolling series reports for Asia, Europe and the US, while the forecast report looking forward a year is for Europe only. Market news and analysis gives the reader the tools required to make essential commercial decisions. Commentary within the reports includes overviews, demand and supply, production issues, feedstock movements and any other factors influencing the market at the time of publication.
Polystyrene overview Transcript
Polystyrene is a resin, mainly sold in pellet form. It is shaped into a variety of products including cups, disposable dinnerware, take-out containers and toys.
Polystyrene in the US is a mature market with limited growth potential.
Producers have consolidated in capacity and have become better at managing inventories, producing on a ‘as needed’ basis.
With supply and demand more imbalanced, feedstocks are now the main driver of US polystyrene prices.
Benzene forms a large part of the polystyrenes cost structure. Because of its status as an imported commodity in the US, benzene prices can change rapidly. This has introduced unwelcome price volatility to polystyrene producers and buyers in recent years.
Ethylene, butadiene and natural gases are also important upstream markets to watch.
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Polystyrene: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2016
Asian PS demand did not see any substantial improvement in September despite a final push from China's manufacturing for exports season in Q3. Traders believe demand will taper off in October and November as the lull season sets in. Market participants attribute the tepid demand to slow economic expansion across Asia.
European demand for PS was expected to be better in October, but volumes were dependent upon region and sector. Imports have increased from Russia, Asia and the Middle East, putting pressure on European prices and demand at the beginning of Q4. Demand could face additional challenges in 2017, with customers switching to polypropylene, one of the main competitors of PS.
As Q4 began, two producers in the US were separately seeking higher contract prices for October. One was trying to make up for pricing ground it lost in August when its Louisiana plant was down while the other's increase is not expected to stick, because the final few months of the year is a difficult time to raise prices due to lower demand.
Latin America PS prices are projected to be stable through to the end of the year. Prices could fall if more imports from Asia arrive in the region. PS imports from Asia declined drastically due to higher shipping costs, but more recently, those costs have fallen and imports from Asia grew. Demand continues stable-to-soft, but is projected to soften by the end of the year.
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Polystyrene Asia Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene Europe Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene US Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene (PS) is a clear, crystalline resin which burns with a sooty flame. It is soluble in cyclohexane (CX), ethylbenzene (EB), ethyl acetate (etac), carbon disulphide, but insoluble in ether, acetone, phenol and saturated hydrocarbons.
Two main types of PS are produced: crystal or general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) which is a clear, amorphous resin with good stiffness and electrical properties but it is brittle; and medium and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which contain varying levels of polybutadiene to improve toughness and impact resistance.
Polystyrene is used in a variety of consumer and commercial products with major applications in domestic appliances, construction, electronics, toys and food packaging. Included in food packaging are food and dairy containers, closures, lids, produce baskets, vending cups and fast food containers.