The ICIS Expandable Polystyrene report is published weekly in Asia, Europe and the US. Price assessments cover spot or contract markets for block, packaging, insulation standard and flame retardant grades, depending on the region.
These unbiased and independent reports will give you valuable insight into market developments and the key factors that are driving prices. News and analysis include an overview of the market, feedstocks movements, production schedules and graphs. Our locally based reporters provide intelligence enabling you to follow the up-to-date developments on the market and make informed commercial decisions.
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Expandable polystyrene news and market information products from ICIS
We offer the following regional Expandable polystyrene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Expandable polystyrene marketplace.
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Upstream of Expandable polystyrene
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Expandable polystyrene: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2018
Some producers were already considering reducing operating rates amid persistently thin margins. As inventory levels were on the high side, producers could be further pressured to lower run rates further. Meanwhile, a tighter market for feedstock SM in China will likely keep Asian production costs higher.
Buying interest will likely slow down as demand for packaging materials in particular will be impacted by the seasonal drop in manufacturing activity. But buyers still have room for stock building in outright prices come off sharply, as many have been keep inventories low due to high prices.
EPS supply is expected to remain healthy through much of the fourth quarter. No known turnarounds are anticipated nor in the upstream styrene market. Adding to this, with the Turkish lira and Iranian rial still comparatively weak against the euro, volumes on offer from these regions could well increase.
Demand for EPS in the fourth quarter is expected to remain robust, depending on weather conditions across the continent. Buying appetite is typically firm during October and November, driven primarily by construction businesses downstream seeking to complete building projects before the winter holidays and before harsh weather impedes further operations.
There were no planned turnarounds or any other disruptions to US EPS production during the third quarter. Imports were up by 9% during the first seven months of 2018. In July, imports from Mexico and Canada were up by 19% and 10%, respectively. Most notably, imports from Mexico from January through July were up by 43% year on year.
US and Canada EPS demand was down by 2.4% during the first seven months of this year from the same period a year ago, but demand picked up in August and September. US EPS demand is split between the block and shape EPS markets and exports. The block market contributed to 72% of total domestic demand, while shape grade made up 28%.
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Expandable polystyrene news & analysis
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Expandable Polystyrene Methodology
About Expandable polystyrene
Expandable polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid cellular form of polystyrene (PS) with good thermal insulation and shock absorbing properties, high compressive strength, low weight and resistance to moisture.
Building and construction applications are the largest outlet for EPS. Large quantities are used to make insulation foam for closed cavity walls, roofs and floor insulation. EPS foam also finds uses in road construction, bridges, drainage, flotation and sound insulation.
The other main application of EPS is in packaging. Food items such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry can be packed with EPS. The good shock absorbency of EPS makes is suitable for the packaging of delicate electronic goods.
Other uses for EPS include providing protection in crash helmets and as decoration in design work.
Upstream of Expandable polystyrene
Downstream of Expandable polystyrene