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 Q3 2020
Chinese export supply was lower through the quarter because of some short-term shutdowns at a producer’s unit in south China. Some permanent plant closures in east China exacerbated the situation. Supply levels in the wider northeast Asian region were largely unchanged.
Demand from southeast Asia was largely stable on unchanged manufacturing activity. Buying interest in Malaysia was relatively strong on some recovery in the construction sector.
Supply remained balanced across Q3. The majority of players have maintained high stock levels and have not had issues in sourcing material. There was some tightness mentioned in August since demand rose in July and producer output levels had been low in previous months. But by September, it was no longer an issue. Import volumes have been lower than usual and have not been competitive.
Q3 demand has been stronger across downstream sectors including white goods packaging, particularly in July and September since August was seasonally quiet due to holidays. Construction demand was also strong across Q3, but started to be stable-to-soft in late Q3 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on finances and current year projects coming to an end before the weather changes.
Availability of EPS in North America remained sufficient to meet the market’s needs, although supplies started to tighten towards the end of Q3 with at least one producer experiencing some production issues. Demand picked up throughout Q3, increasing the demand pull on production and inventory levels. Interest in imports thinned during the quarter owing to a narrow arbitrage window and long delivery times.
Demand recovered to pre-crisis levels in Q3 after sinking to multi-year lows during the period of strictest coronavirus-related restrictions on economic activity in Q2. Residential construction saw strong growth on increased spending on home improvements and an emerging trend of people moving away from cities towards suburban areas. Foam food packaging demand also saw a boost as an increasing volume of restaurant sales were done via delivery and takeout options.
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.