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.
Updated to Q1 2020
Supply remained ample in Q1 2020, though towards the end of the quarter there were some minor logistics issues in terms of lower truck availability and some delays at border checks due to coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts and country lockdowns, but this did not impact availability of material. Output rates were mostly normal throughout the quarter, and imports from Asia declined as the coronavirus situation worsened.
Demand remained low in early Q1 for the construction sector due to poor weather. Views were mixed towards the end of Q1 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) causing shutdowns and worker health concerns as well as country lockdowns. However, some downstream companies continued operating. Fish boxes packaging was steady, but by the end of Q1 was more stable in northern Europe, since the south relied on restaurants, closed due to lockdowns.
The US expandable polystyrene (EPS) market remained well supplied throughout the first quarter. Availability of Asian imports was sufficient while domestic supply was also healthy as operating rates were steady while demand was sluggish. The impact of the coronavirus, which broke out early in the quarter in Asia and had spread to the rest of the world by March, further lengthened supplies as measures designed to contain the spread of the virus slowed economic activity.
North American demand for EPS started the quarter strong as a mild winter spurred additional construction demand through the early months. Widespread quarantine measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus came to the region in March, resulted in a sharp deceleration in economic activity and demand for many key EPS applications.
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.