Polystyrene Prices, markets & analysis
With a network of price reporters across Asia, Europe and the US, ICIS is fully equipped to keep you updated on everything that happens in the global Polystyrene market, whether you buy or sell Polystyrene or related products.
From daily and weekly reports containing price assessments obtained by our network of local reporters, to the news and analysis that put the market into focus, we provide the tools you need to make confident business decisions.
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.
How we can help
Polystyrene news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Polystyrene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polystyrene marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Polystyrene
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
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Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Polystyrene
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Other types of reports we cover for Polystyrene
Use margin reports to assess the profitability of commodities
News & analysis
News & Analysis - News & market analysis specifically relating to Polystyrene
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets.
Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Polystyrene: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2014
European polystyrene (PS) demand is expected to remain strong in the third quarter, as the summer weather enables construction activity. However, this is usually partially offset by reduced demand during the European summer holiday season in July and August. The pricing outlook is uncertain, largely as a result of recent volatility in feedstock costs. Ongoing imports of relatively cheap styrene monomer (SM) and PS, particularly from Asia, are keeping European PS prices relatively competitive.
In the US PS market, producers are seeking price increases of 7 cents/lb for July, in an effort to offset an 80 cent/gal increase in feedstock benzene costs. Buyers will push for a lesser increase, arguing that producers held onto some margin as feedstock prices fell in the second quarter. Demand is expected to remain strong into the third quarter.
In Asia, PS demand is expected to remain weak despite the upcoming Q3 manufacturing for exports season in China. Weak economic growth in the US and the eurozone has dampened consumption of Asian-made goods. Slowing growth in China further reduced demand for PS with end-users reporting receiving lower than expected numbers of orders for finished products.
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Polystyrene news & analysis
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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.