LONDON (ICIS)--European polystyrene (PS) prices are poised to rise in January due to higher feedstock costs and improving demand, following the seasonal December lull, sources said on Friday.
“After a seasonally weak December, demand is clearly picking up now,” a producer said.
Producers Styron and Styrolution have formally announced that they are seeking price increases of €50/tonne and €70/tonne, respectively, for EPS in January. The price hike is an effort to boost thin margins on the back of higher demand.
“This expectation of significantly improved demand is the basis for the higher price,” a producer said, adding that margin improvement is also needed.
Nevertheless, most buy side sources say they are unwilling to pay anything over the January styrene monomer increase of €35/tonne.
One buyer, however, said that competition between seller should enable it to negotiate lower prices. “There is price competition. My goal is a rollover.”
Distributors also said they were struggling to raise prices. One said it has achieved an increase of €20/tonne but only in some cases.
Another distributor said, “I think +€35/tonne (for January), no more. I have to admit, I haven’t seen too many competitive offers this month.”
Because of the disparity in price views, sources expect January price discussions to be protracted.