Asia EPS sellers raise offers on recent styrene strength

11 April 2018 05:50 Source:ICIS News

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s expandable polystyrene (EPS) sellers have increased their offers this week by $20-30/tonne on the back of recent gains in styrene monomer (SM) market.

EPS offers were at around the mid- to high-$1,500/tonne CFR Asia levels after last week’s hiatus as China and Taiwan observed Qingming or Tomb Sweeping holiday on 5 April.

The Chinese markets were closed for three days up to 7 April.

Most EPS sellers targeted higher numbers, citing recent strength in feedstock SM values.

Spot SM prices jumped to $1,365/tonne CFR China in early April from $1,270/tonne CFR (cost & freight) China in the second half of March. Prices have since hovered around $1,350/tonne CFR China, ICIS data showed.

“SM costs remained high and higher resin offers are needed to maintain margins,” said a producer with plants in China and Taiwan.

EPS resins are used for packaging and insulation panels in buildings and roads.

Demand across Asia, however, remained stable with buyers mostly buying on a need-to basis.

“Buyers are lobbying for prices at under $1,550/tonne,” said a trader in southeast Asia.

Stronger demand for EPS is expected towards the middle of the year when activities the key construction sector China peak.

Pre-buying for the third-quarter manufacturing-for-export season could also boost EPS demand in the later part of the second quarter.

ICIS Editorial Chart goes herePicture: The five-star Shanghai Tianmashan Pit Hotel, also known as the Shimao Wonderland Intercontinental Hotel or Shimao Quarry Hotel, is under construction in the pit of an abandoned quarry in China. Construction is a key downstream industry for expandable polystyrene (EPS). (Source: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock)

By Clive Ong