HOUSTON (ICIS)--A Mexico expandable polystyrene (EPS) producer announced a July price increase of 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne) based on higher feedstock costs, sources said on Monday.
Polioles announced the 5 cent/lb increase, effective on 1 July, according to a copy of a 23 June customer letter obtained by ICIS. It was not clear if other producers had made a similar announcement.
According to the letter, the proposed increase is based on “the recent volatility of benzene and styrene prices.” Benzene spot prices traded as high as $5.20/gal on 20 June, and were discussed as high as $5.50/gal.
The proposed increase follows a 2 cent/lb price drop that occurred over the two month period of May and June, following a drop in feedstock benzene prices during those two months.
So far, no price increase announcements have been heard from US producers, sources said. However, market participants have said they are expecting increases to be announced sometime this week, based on the movement in benzene.
One buyer, active in the US and Mexico said that it has changed its strategy from one of buying only as much as could be used immediately, to buying as much as possible now in an effort to take a position in advance of anticipated price increases.
Current Mexico EPS prices were assessed by ICIS at 117.50-120.50 cents/lb DEL (delivered) for block material and 113.50-116.50 cents/lb for package material.
Major North American EPS producers are BASF, NOVA Chemicals, Flint Hills Resources, Styrochem, Nexkemia, Polioles and Polidesa.