SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices increased this week amid elevated feedstock styrene monomer (SM) values.
EPS makers targeted higher numbers in a bid to maintain workable margins.
Spot prices have risen from the low $1,500s/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE Asia toward the mid $1,500s/tonne CFR NE Asia.
SM prices have hovered in the high $1,300s/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China, ICIS data showed.
“Since SM costs have remained high, we have to target higher resin prices,” said a producer in Taiwan.
While demand for EPS has picked up in April compared to March, most market participants anticipate a stronger improvement only towards the middle of the year when the key construction sector in China enters its peak.
Also, demand for EPS from the packaging sector could see a more pronounced pick-up in the later part of the second quarter, when users replenish inventories ahead of the third quarter manufacturing for exports season in China.
Meanwhile, buyers resistance have become more evident as EPS prices crept higher.
Buyers have picked up some cargoes last week and were slow to respond to higher quotations this week.
“The higher offers have kept some buyers on the sidelines, since they have already bought some parcels last week,” said a trader in SE Asia.
EPS resins are used for packaging and insulation panels in buildings and roads.