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 2020
Supply in northeast Asia was limited as some new start-ups were delayed to early 2021. Slightly narrower production spreads and logistical issues for export cargoes weighed on average run rates in the region.
Demand was strong from most import regions in southeast Asia, as end-user manufacturing activity was strong. A bout of cargo delays contributed to continuous replenishment demand as well.
Supply was largely balanced in Q4. Slight tightness was seen in October on stronger-than-expected demand and two EPS plant closures – Synthos’ French plant and Sir Industriale’s Italian plant. Towards December, there were also some pandemic-related logistics and shipping issues, but supply remained balanced. Imports have remained low and uncompetitive from other regions.
Demand was stronger-than-expected in Q4. Construction demand was strong throughout the quarter as companies sought to finish projects for the year that were delayed by the pandemic. Demand was seasonally softer in December but stronger than typical for the time of year. White goods packaging demand remained strong as coronavirus-related lockdowns saw end-consumers making home improvements. Fish boxes packaging demand was stable, following seasonal trends.
Supply was tight throughout Q4. Strong demand resulted in most producers being short on spot supplies, although most buyers were able to secure their regular contractual quantities. At least one plant experienced some production issues during the quarter, further tightening available inventories. Some disruptions in upstream styrene production also impacted operating rates at EPS plants.
Demand remained strong through Q4, with the normal seasonal slowdown in demand during November and December largely failing to materialise. Demand from the construction sector was strong throughout Q4 owing to relatively mild winter weather during the quarter as well as some companies working through the holidays to make up for lost volumes earlier in the year. Foam food packaging demand was also healthy.
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.