HOUSTON (ICIS)--US April polystyrene (PS) contract prices have settled at a decrease of 5 cents/lb from the previous month, following separate price decrease nominations by various producers, market participants said on Friday.
The price drops are believed to be across the board. Domestic prices are down by 5 cents/lb in April, one distributor said.
ICIS PS prices range from 107-118 cents/lb for general purpose PS (GPPS) and high impact PS (HIPS) grades.
Price drops in April follow stronger prices during the last three months. Average price increases during the first quarter averaged 19 cents/lb, according to ICIS assessments.
The domestic PS market takes most of its cues from the feedstock benzene market. April benzene contract prices fell by 57.5 cents/gal, hitting the lowest price since December. Between December and February, benzene contract prices firmed by an average of $1.12/gal.
However, ICIS-assessed benzene spot prices averaged $2.88/gal during the first 13 days of April, which is higher than the average April contract settlement of $2.69/gal.
Supply in the market has been described as a little snug. However, people can get the PS supply that they need, one producer said. Supply of general purpose PS (GPPS) is seen as a little tighter, while there is more availability for high impact PS (HIPS), according to a market source.
Supply will improve as feedstock styrene production begins to ramp back up this month.
Americas Styrenics (AmSty) has resumed full styrene production at its 950,000 tonne/year Saint James plant Louisiana, following an extended turnaround, the US-based producer announced on 5 April. One line at the plant has been down since early January, and was originally scheduled to be down for 30 days.
INEOS Styrolution began a 45-day turnaround on 1 March at its 450,000 tonne/year Texas City plant in Texas. The plant is still expected to be back on line during the second half of April.