Feedstocks exerting downward pressure on November US PS

Source: ICIS News

2018/11/09

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Significant drops on key feedstock prices are exerting downward pressure on November US polystyrene (PS) prices, but there are attempts to roll prices over from the previous month.

ICIS feedstock benzene spot prices on 8 November dropped to the lowest level in two years. Prices have fallen by 60 cents/gal since 22 October.

Feedstock styrene prices have also fallen sharply, but styrene does not have much influence on PS prices. Styrene does impact PS when supply is tight, but that is not the case at the moment.

With price rollovers being sought, any price decreases this month would likely happen on a customer by customer basis. November contract prices should settle within the next few weeks. The drop on benzene could also push December PS prices down.

To a smaller extent, feedstock ethylene is having an impact on PS price direction. October ethylene contracts settled lower by 2.5 cents/lb ($55/tonne). Ethylene is included in the PS pricing mix, but not to the same extent as benzene.

Supply and demand factors are also taken into consideration by producers when making monthly pricing decisions.

PS demand is decent this month, but lower than it was in October. Demand will drop further in December, as it is typically the lowest demand month of the year.

Following an unsuccessful push for lower prices in October, there is renewed interest for a price decrease in November. PS prices increased by 2 cents/lb in September.

PS prices in China continued to drop this week, which has been the case for the last four weeks. General purpose PS (GPPS) prices have dropped by 13%, and high impact PS (HIPS) prices by 12% in that time frame.

ICIS PS prices on Friday are 107-117 cents/lb DEL (delivered) US.

North American PS producers include AmSty, Group Idesa, INEOS Styrolution, Resirene and Total Petrochemicals USA.

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