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 Q2 2016
After a very strong March in terms of orders, European polystyrene (PS) players expect demand to remain healthy in the second quarter, as the market's high season begins with packaging, appliances and insulation being the main drivers of growth. With styrene prices rising significantly in March and April, producers believe that this trend in feedstocks could continue in the next months, while the PS market is getting tighter due to some upcoming maintenance and customers are struggling to secure volumes in some cases.
The three major North American polystyrene (PS) producers separately announced price increases of 5-6 cents/lb effective 1 April, the companies said. Two producers separately announced increases of five cents/lb, and the third announced a six-cents/lb increase. Higher raw material costs were largely cited for the increase. Feedstock styrene prices rose by 13 cents/lb between 22 January and 18 March.
Asia PS prices took a pause in early April after a strong uptrend from mid February, after the Lunar New Year holidays. Suppliers remained prepared to increase resin prices further if feedstock styrene monomer (SM) prices trend higher in the second quarter. However, most sellers concede that buying resistance has increased given the sharp rise in resin values. Meanwhile, manufacturing activities in the key Chinese market usually kick into higher gear in the second quarter and demand for resins is expected to strengthen as well.
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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.