The comprehensive and extensive coverage of Polystyrene, compiled by our team of locally-based reporters gives market players up-to-date and in-depth independent and unbiased pricing information. The weekly price assessments are covered in Asia, Middle East, CIS, Europe, the US and Latin America.
There are also margin reports and 12-month rolling series reports for Asia, Europe and the US, while the forecast report looking forward a year is for Europe only. Market news and analysis gives the reader the tools required to make essential commercial decisions. Commentary within the reports includes overviews, demand and supply, production issues, feedstock movements and any other factors influencing the market at the time of publication.
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Polystyrene news and market information products from ICIS
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Polystyrene: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2018
Supply is expected to remain stable in the third quarter with suppliers running at high rates, as reasonable margins remain for PS makers to incentivise them. Limited cargoes from outside of Asia are expected to arrive to tilt the supply balance here, while exports of parcels to outside of Asia will help to maintain normal supply conditions.
Demand is expected to improve amid the third quarter manufacturing for export season in China. However, players continue to monitor the ongoing trade spat between the US and China closely with any development likely to have an impact on the global economy and the PS demand in Asia.
European PS supply is expected to remain healthy through the third quarter with no known supply issues or planned turnarounds in the domestic market. Summer holidays are reducing demand and there is potential for additional arrivals of GPPS from Iranian suppliers later in the quarter amid renewed US sanctions coming into force in November.
European PS demand is expected to soften slightly in the third quarter with the arrival of the summer season in Europe leading to reduced activity. Some downstream sectors such as single-use cutlery and crockery will likely remain buoyant throughout this period and a potential drop in prices could also help spur buying interest.
Supply is expected to be generally stable in the third quarter even with at least one Asian plant on a scheduled turnaround. However, it is not expected to have any impact on the supply to the Middle East or south Asia. Regional supply is likely to be steady as well, with no upcoming planned turnarounds.
Demand in the earlier part of the third quarter is likely to be weaker because of the summer holidays in the Middle East and monsoon season in south Asia, especially India. Typically, demand starts to pick up in the later part of the third quarter when most of the market players are back from their holidays.
There are no supply disruptions in the US PS market at the start of the third quarter, nor are there any plans for turnarounds during the quarter. Going into July, there are lower PS offers from Asian suppliers, and South American sellers are becoming more aggressive with their offers. Import volumes are so small that they do not impact US prices.
PS demand during the third quarter will increase from the second quarter, but should be near normal, seasonal levels. Demand is on the rise in the downstream expandable polystyrene (EPS) market, but that is expected at this time of year. The US is a net PS exporter, and the majority of Q3 shipments will move to Mexico and Canada.
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Polystyrene Asia Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene Europe Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene US Margin Report Methodology
Polystyrene (PS) is a clear, crystalline resin which burns with a sooty flame. It is soluble in cyclohexane (CX), ethylbenzene (EB), ethyl acetate (etac), carbon disulphide, but insoluble in ether, acetone, phenol and saturated hydrocarbons.
Two main types of PS are produced: crystal or general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) which is a clear, amorphous resin with good stiffness and electrical properties but it is brittle; and medium and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which contain varying levels of polybutadiene to improve toughness and impact resistance.
Polystyrene is used in a variety of consumer and commercial products with major applications in domestic appliances, construction, electronics, toys and food packaging. Included in food packaging are food and dairy containers, closures, lids, produce baskets, vending cups and fast food containers.