European EPS prices roll over in December

20 December 2013 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices have generally settled in December at a rollover from November, though some reductions and some increases were also reported, but not considered representative of the assessed range, sources said on Friday.

A producer said offtake in December was better than expected, which it attributed to tightness in the supply of packaging material.

Demand for insulation grade material was said to be fairly good for December, due to the mild winter weather. The producer said it rolled over prices from November.

"In December we settled the majority at a rollover. Demand was better than expected - a bit better than expected."

Another producer, however, said demand was just in line with expectations. The supplier said it rolled over most prices, but also raised some prices, as it sought to regain profit margin in light of higher feedstock costs.

The December styrene barge contract settled up €10/tonne ($14/tonne) while benzene settled up €109/tonne. Benzene is the feedstock for styrene.

A third producer said it has more or less settled most of its December contracts at a rollover.

The rollover was broadly confirmed on the buy side, though one buyer noted that it had received a reduction of €30/tonne. This was not, however, confirmed.

The market is now turning its attention towards January pricing and the consensus is that EPS prices are set to increase, though the level of the hike is uncertain and largely dependent on feedstock styrene pricing.

"In January I expect an [PS] increase, from styrene," a producer said.

($1 = €0.73)

By Iain Packham