Middle East PS importers wait for upstream SM market clarity

23 February 2018 03:01 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Polystyrene (PS) importers in the Middle East were waiting for a clear price direction for upstream styrene monomer (SM) market before making any procurement decisions.

Several Asian PS suppliers have not announced their offers for March-lifting cargoes as they were waiting for the Chinese market to resume operations after the Lunar New Year holidays.

China was on holiday on 15-21 February.

“We will have to see how SM prices behave before offering next week,” said a southeast Asian supplier.

At the close of trade on 22 February, SM prices were up $5-15/tonne at $1,445-1,455/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China, as the market shrugged off a build in stockpiles in China.

China’s preliminary decision to impose anti-dumping duties (ADD) on SM of South Korean, Taiwan and US origin cargoes starting 13 February has sent the market into a wait-and-see stance. Market players were keen to monitor the situation over the next several weeks determining if the measure would drive up prices of SM.

For PS, limited offers rose to about $1,650/tonne CFR GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) for general purpose polystyrene (GPPS), while a deal for March-lifting high impact polystyrene (HIPS) was closed at $1,740/tonne CFR GCC.

“Buyers will not buy if prices were to rise above a certain level,” said a Middle Eastern trader.

Asian producers tentatively offered higher in anticipation of strong feedstock SM prices, but end-users were resisting the higher prices.

Meanwhile, the market is also waiting for the March offers of a major Middle Eastern supplier.

PS resins are used for packaging, utensils, toys, consumer electronics and other consumer items.

Focus article by Koh Yuanlin

Picture: Polystyrene for insulation on a construction site. (Source: WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock)

By Koh Yuanlin