Europe Jan EPS contract likely to rise on higher feedstock costs

03 January 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Higher feedstock costs in December and January are likely to push up expandable polystyrene (EPS) prices in January, sources said on Friday.

Although January EPS negotiations will not start in earnest until next week once most market players return from Christmas and new year holidays, some are already expecting higher prices due to recent feedstock price hikes.

Sources expect any price increase is likely to be supported by increased offtake from re-stocking activity after the year-end. Furthermore a mild winter, at least so far, is likely to result in higher demand from the key construction industry sector.

An EPS producer said that although it hasn't properly started January price talks, it will be seeking to raise EPS prices in line with higher feedstock costs, adding that it expects to be able to be successful as it did not pass on the feedstock cost increases in December.

"I would think we could possibly achieve about a €30/tonne [$41/tonne] increase," it said, adding: "It's not time for a wild increase."

The European January styrene monomer barge contract was settled on Thursday at €1,410/tonne, up €35/tonne from the previous month.

Furthermore, prices for styrene feedstocks ethylene and benzene both also rose in January, by €15/tonne to €1,240/tonne and €37/tonne to €994/tonne, respectively.

($1 = €0.73)

By Iain Packham