The comprehensive and extensive coverage of Polystyrene, compiled by our team of locally-based reporters gives market players up-to-date and in-depth independent and unbiased pricing information. The weekly price assessments are covered in Asia, Middle East, CIS, Europe, the US and Latin America.
There are also margin reports and 12-month rolling series reports for Asia, Europe and the US, while the forecast report looking forward a year is for Europe only. Market news and analysis gives the reader the tools required to make essential commercial decisions. Commentary within the reports includes overviews, demand and supply, production issues, feedstock movements and any other factors influencing the market at the time of publication.
Updated to Q2 2021
Chinese domestic supply was initially sufficient in early Q2, with most units running at high rates. However, supply decreased on some plant problems and stricter government safety checks in June. Supply outside of China was the same, with some unexpected plant problems emerging in April and May in both northeast and southeast Asia.
Demand for PS imports slowed down in China as exports of finished products such as household appliances were limited. Southeast Asian buying was curtailed towards the end of Q2 by overall slow end-user offtake domestically because of ongoing lockdowns, cancelling earlier replenishment demand after the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
Supply was mixed in Q2, with tightness in April from a lack of styrene, and some recovery in May and June as imports arrived. Supply has been overall balanced for general purpose GPPS material, but with bouts of tightness, particularly for HIPS material in June due to lower outputs and strong appliances demand, with mixed views of recovery approaching July.
Demand across Q2 remains strong from the downstream appliances sector, driven by manufacturer restocking and high outputs. Construction demand has increased for the typical Q2 high season. Q2 food packaging demand remained stable, with expectations by the end of the quarter for a gradual softening of demand and activity due to the move away from single-use plastics.
Supply remained stable from Asia, with no major disruptions. The quantity of GPPS available was stable but supply to the Middle East was affected by the shortage of vessel space and high freight costs. This reduced discussion between buyers in the East Med region and Asian suppliers significantly. Material available from a major Middle East seller remained limited, with most buyers having to rely on material from Asia and Latin America.
Demand in the Middle East remained subdued through Q2, with the pandemic affecting downstream demand for products like disposables. The reduction in travel, due to restrictions in many countries, also negatively impacted PS demand. In India, the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant led to many factory closures, resulting in considerably slow demand. In Bangladesh, demand remained healthy through May and June.
PS supply in Q2 is close to normal levels in most regional markets, but a small plant in Colombia has been offline since Q4 2020. Production in Mexico faced low utilisation rates in early Q2 due to lacking feedstock imports following the polar storm, but rates started improving through May and June. Availability for exports from Brazil improved. Feedstock costs fell on lower styrene monomer (SM) costs due to reduced ethylene and benzene prices.
Demand for PS in Q2 was stable to soft for most regional markets. Demand remained strong in Mexico but has eased in Brazil and is weaker in Argentina. Legislation prohibiting single-use plastics are returning for some cities, states, and countries. Industrial activity in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina has plateaued and low GDP projections limit demand upside. Reduced vehicle production in Brazil has slowed significantly after Ford suspended operations decreasing demand from the sector.
Supplies faced consistent tightness during Q2, due to lingering issues with monomer supplies stemming from the mid-February winter storm. One major producer remained on force majeure throughout much of the quarter, while another key supplier faced operating rate limitations due to monomer shortages. Shortages of co-feedstock BD resulted in reduced availability for HIPS.
Demand remained steady to strong during Q2. Consumption exceeded the depressed levels seen during Q2 2020 – during the initial coronavirus outbreak – returning to levels similar to those seen in 2019. Demand from the electronics and appliance sectors was strong due to healthy demand for durable consumer goods, while food packaging demand rebounded to near 2019 levels.
We offer the following regional Polystyrene analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Polystyrene marketplace.
Price Reporting – More information about the price reports we publish on Polystyrene
Independent price assessments and market coverage by region
Price forecasts – Concise monthly forward-looking market outlook reports, detailing prices, supply & demand and trade for the next 12 months.
Related products – You might also be interested in the information we publish on these related products
You may also find useful
Price History – More information about the historical price data we publish on Polystyrene
Track historical price data
Other types of reports we cover for Polystyrene
Use margin reports to assess the profitability of commodities
News & analysis
News & Analysis – News & market analysis specifically relating to Polypropylene
Breaking news of latest developments affecting the markets. Insight and analysis of factors driving prices.
Regional price assessments, published daily or weekly, enabling you to keep track of trading prices, understand price drivers/fluctuations and set a benchmark for contract price settl ements. ICIS offers reports on over 180 commodities across the global petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets. Information covered in our price reports includes:
Information is accessed online, via the ICIS dashboard service and is configurable to suit your preferences.
Produced by the ICIS Consulting team, these reports give a robust rolling 12-month price forecast, trade balances and in-depth analysis into where markets are heading – providing a valuable tool to support your short- to medium-term plans.
ICIS pricing intelligence is delivered to you online via the ICIS dashboard. Here you can view your reports and also access other useful services including related news, analysis, historical data and market alerts.
ICIS dashboard also makes it easy for you to create pricing charts, download price history and export data to create tailored analytical models.
ICIS weekly margin reports deliver the detail you need to understand how production costs and prices are affecting margins, enabling you to judge the likely impact on your business and optimise your upstream and downstream business decisions.
The Supply and Demand Window on the ICIS Dashboard provides a snapshot view of historical and forecast information for supply and demand, production capacity and trade flows – a key tool to help safeguard future investments within the chemicals market.
24-hour global coverage of breaking news in the petrochemical industry, including updates on production, shutdowns and key transacted deals, keeping you informed of market developments as they happen. The ICIS news service allows you to customise the market alerts delivered to your email inbox, providing the business-critical information you need straightaway.
An expert view of supply and demand comprising four fully-reconciled databases, giving you access to extensive data for more than 100 markets. Information is included on global and regional trade flows, production, capacity and sources of demand in the short-, medium- and long-term. Data can be downloaded, customised and queried to support your planning requirements and your strategic decisions.
ICIS provides specialist training courses across the global petrochemicals, base oils and fertilizers industries. Our training team of industry experts can help you increase your knowledge of the industry and gain the insight and know-how needed to operate and trade effectively.
Find out more about ICIS training courses >>
ICIS produces a series of highly informative and timely conferences. Extensive research is carried out to ensure that each programme delivers the information you need and addresses current industry issues. We source speakers who have the appropriate expertise and experience to deliver excellent quality papers.
Find out more about ICIS conferences >>
Working closely with you to understand your strategies, challenges and ambitions, the ICIS consulting team deliver tailored advice and solutions to suit your unique requirements. With many years’ experience of guiding business leadership teams, we show you how market conditions can make a positive or negative impact on your long-term plans.
ICIS expert consultants can provide your organisation with the insight, intelligence and data needed to build and grow your business in China. We can help you to gain a clear view on the short and long-term supply and demand picture in the chemicals, energy, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals and paper and pulp markets in China.
ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
Our in-depth market knowledge drives our specialist focus, as we recognise the importance of individual market dynamics and not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Over 25 years of reporting on key chemicals markets, including Polystyrene, has brought global recognition of our methodology as being unbiased, authoritative and rigorous in preserving our editorial integrity. Our global network of reporters in Houston, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Perth and Moscow ensures unrivalled coverage of established and emerging markets.
Polystyrene (PS) is a thermoplastic polymer and is available in several forms: general purpose (crystal), medium impact, high impact and expandable
The diagram below shows the main method of making polystyrene (PS) from naphtha, a product mainly derived from crude oil.
The diagram below shows the main method of making polystyrene (PS) from naphtha, a product mainly derived from crude oil.
Ethane (or naphtha) with steam is fed into the cracker unit where ethylene and co-products (propylene, butadiene, benzene, etc.) are made. The ethylene and benzene from the cracker are then further processed (catalytic alkylation) to make ethylbenzene.
Polystyrene (PS) is a clear, crystalline resin which burns with a sooty flame. It is soluble in cyclohexane (CX), ethylbenzene (EB), ethyl acetate (etac), carbon disulphide, but insoluble in ether, acetone, phenol and saturated hydrocarbons.
Two main types of PS are produced: crystal or general purpose polystyrene (GPPS) which is a clear, amorphous resin with good stiffness and electrical properties but it is brittle; and medium and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) which contain varying levels of polybutadiene to improve toughness and impact resistance.
Polystyrene is used in a variety of consumer and commercial products with major applications in domestic appliances, construction, electronics, toys and food packaging. Included in food packaging are food and dairy containers, closures, lids, produce baskets, vending cups and fast food containers.
The chemicals industry needs to overcome a 'business as usual' strategy and grasp new production and recycling technologies to meet the challenge of a low carbon future. Tune in to this podcast as...Read
LONDON (ICIS)--A shortage of flame retardants commonly used in mattresses, such as TCPP, has led to surging prices in Europe, according to market players in the polyurethane (PU) foam industry....Read
LONDON (ICIS)--The ICIS Petrochemical Index (IPEX) dropped by 0.4% month on month in September, tracking price decreases in most major petrochemicals and plastics markets around the world, not least...Read
LONDON (ICIS)--Big shortages across all major mono waste bale streams have led prices to multi-year highs. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste bales are trading at their highest levels since April...Read