Polystyrene offers move up in Asia as demand improves

12-Apr-10
Improved demand and higher energy prices in Asia have pushed PS prices to record increases last week, as per Chemorbis. Oil prices gained US$6.12/bbl on April 1 vs March 1, while they reached 18 month high levels by April 5 at $86.62/bbl, dipping to US$85/bbl by end of week. Yet, the general rise in energy prices coupled with firm styrene prices at US$1270-1275/ton on FOB Korea basis last week, gave ground to PS producers to raise their prices. Accordingly, in China, import Asian prices rose by US$5-25/ton for dutiable GPPS and by US$20/ton at the low end of the range for non-dutiable origins. Similarly, HIPS prices gained US$15/ton at the high end for dutiable origins and US$20/ton at the low end of the range for non-dutiable origins CFR/FCA, cash basis. A Hong Kong producer has already revealed May PS offers to China with increases of US$25/ton compared to their most recent April done deal level triggered by higher feedstock costs and better demand while their stock levels are at the low side. Another global producer also commented mulling an increase of US$20-30/ton for this week. The approaching high season created some recovery in demand as converters inside China ramped up their operating rates by another 10% during this past week. Meanwhile, distributors and sellers are holding normal or slightly lower than normal inventory levels of PS. Some traders report that they are planning to make fresh purchases on the back of the improved demand and their low inventory levels. In Southeast Asia, a global producer lifted GPPS and HIPS prices by US$10/ton while traders reported receiving offers with increases of US$10-20/ton for GPPS. In the HIPS market, some traders even noted hikes as much as US$50/ton during the past week. These bullish developments took their toll in other global markets of Turkey and Egypt. A trader in Turkey reported receiving an offer for Thai origin, which represented a US$40/ton increase on a week over week basis when compared to the offers reported from that country during the previous week. In Egypt, the overall Asian range in the country rose by US$30-60/ton for GPPS and US$25-60/ton for HIPS on a week over week basis. Despite the unspectacular demand in Turkey and Egypt, Asian PS offers are expected to remain firm considering the fact that import PS prices in China and Southeast Asia have moved up on the back of the already better demand and the approaching high season for PS applications. If energy prices continue with their firm trend, further gradual increases are likely to be observed in Asian PS prices during this week, too.
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