NOVA Chemicals announced on Wednesday that it will raise prices for all grades of expandable polystyrene (EPS) sold in the US and Canada by 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne), effective on 1 April.
While a letter to customers does not provide a reason for the increase, producers in recent weeks have complained about EPS margins, which declined in February because EPS prices did not increase, while feedstock benzene costs rose by 25 cents/gal.
Producers had hoped that March benzene contract prices would fall significantly enough to make up for the lost margin. However, with March benzene contracts settling lower by only 14 cents/gal, margins still have not recovered, producers said.
Buyers in the US EPS market had been hoping for the possibility of a decrease in March, based on the slight drop in feedstock costs, as well as more competitive offers for imported resin from Asia. However, producers have said they will aim to keep prices flat for the month.
Current US EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 103-107 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 101-105 cents/lb DEL for package material.