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 Q4 2019
Amid tepid downstream demand, operating rates at China’s plants remained at about 50% capacity, while other units in Asia were kept at around 70% capacity.
Demand from the construction sector in China typically enters a lull period during the winter season. Demand from the packaging sector is relatively stronger because some Chinese and southeast Asian end-users have started to restock.
European expandable polystyrene (EPS) supply has been lengthy throughout Q4 2019, with additional competitively priced imports from Iran and Turkey. Imports slowed down due to ample domestic supply and lower market activity ahead of the December holiday period, when logistics can be an issue. Players were destocking as the end of the year approached. Closures, typical over the winter period, did not affect market supply.
European expandable polystyrene (EPS) demand was muted throughout Q4 2019, with buying interest declining in December in the downstream construction sector due to worsening weather conditions. October was firmer than expected as construction firms attempted to finish projects before the weather declined. Some players saw better demand than expected for packaging in northern Europe, driven by the fishing season.
Availability of expandable polystyrene (EPS) was sufficient to meet the market’s needs amid a drop in overall consumption levels. Competitively-priced Asian imports also helped keep the market well supplied. According to the ICIS Supply and Demand Database, utilisation rates for the North American EPS sector remained below 70% in 2019.
EPS demand was sluggish in the fourth quarter and had a down year overall in 2019. A sharp slowdown in construction activity dented demand from the insulation sector. Demand from packaging applications was better, supported by healthy consumer spending levels. Sustainability concerns negatively impacted demand for disposable cups and styrofoam packaging.
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.
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