Offers of EPS were cited this week in the high-$1,500/tonne CFR (cost & freight) NE (northeast) Asia levels and at around $1,600/tonne CFR SE (southeast) Asia.
“Higher offers were inevitable as margins were squeezed,” said a producer with plants in Taiwan and China.
Spot prices of feedstock SM rose above $1,400/tonne CFR China this week, ICIS data showed, prompting EPS makers to maintain their high offers since last week.
“Buying momentum [for EPS] has slowed as buyers were lamenting the repeated price increases,” said a southeast Asia-based trader.
EPS resins are used for packaging and insulation panels in buildings and roads.
Demand for the resins is expected to stay soft until the second quarter, notwithstanding potential replenishment of stocks in the near term, ahead of the Lunar New Year.
The Lunar New Year, which is on 16 February, is celebrated in most parts of northeast and southeast Asia. The Chinese markets will be on holiday from 15-21 February.
The Chinese construction sector remained in a lull amid the current winter season, with a revival of activities typically expected toward the middle of the year.
The downstream packaging sector is also in an off-season, while manufacturing sector activities are not expected to pick up until the second quarter.
Picture: Ongoing construction of Shimao Wonderland Quarry Hotel in Shanghai, China. Expandable polystyrene (EPS) resins are used for packaging and insulation panels in buildings and roads. (Source: Sipa Asia/REX/Shutterstock)