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.
Updated to Q2 2020
Supply outside of China remained unchanged, with most units running at 60-70% across the board since Q1 2020. Export supply from China fell on better domestic netbacks starting June.
Demand improved as most countries were no longer under lockdown in southeast Asia and manufacturing activities were back online. Chinese demand strengthened on limited domestic supply, with traders seeking cargoes on healthy import margins.
EPS supply has remained balanced across Q2 2020, with stable to high stock levels in the market and increased competition to sell volumes. There were no logistics or production issues heard regardless of the coronavirus pandemic, and there were very few imports heard in the market, with some small quantities available from Iran and Turkey towards the end of the quarter. A short planned turnaround in June did not impact supply.
EPS demand views were mixed across Q2 2020, depending on application, and impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. White goods packaging, construction and insulation demand was mixed depending on region, with ongoing weakness as well as signs of recovery towards the end of the quarter. Fish boxes packaging has remained mostly stable, particularly in northern European countries. Overall, by late Q2 buying interest has been slowly returning to normal levels.
EPS supply in North America was more than sufficient to meet demand in the second quarter. Supplies were anticipated to be sufficient at the start of the quarter and availability lengthened further as the steep loss in consumption during the current economic crisis caused a drop in overall requirements.
EPS demand weakened during the second quarter as the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent containment measures led to a sharp drop in overall economic activity. Construction demand decreased as economic uncertainty and public concerns caused many sites to suspend or slow operations. Food packaging demand was boosted by the increased prevalence of take-out orders while electronics packaging was sluggish.
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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Expandable Polystyrene Methodology
Expandable polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid cellular form of polystyrene with good thermal insulation and shock absorbing properties, high compressive strength, low weight and a resistance to moisture.
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.