Firming trend maintained in global polystyrene markets

18-Oct-10
Polystyrene prices continued with their firm trend in global markets including China, Southeast Asia, Turkey and Egypt, as per Chemorbis. Offers have been supported by strong upstream costs, as oil hovers around US$80/bbl threshold and styrene costs recorded over US$50/ton increases since the start of the month to stand at US$1275/ton on FOB Korea basis. Meanwhile, several styrene shutdowns in Asia have affected availability and prices in the monomer and polymer markets. In China, import PS offers recorded significant increases over this past week as GPPS offers gained US$95-120/ton for both dutiable and non-dutiable origins while HIPS offers moved up by US$80-100/ton over the same period on FCA/CFR China, cash basis. PS prices see support from tight supplies in the country as well as better demand since some converters reported raising their operating rates by 10% at their plants. The current increasing trend is anticipated to remain in place although players comment that the pace of increases will not be as rapid as last week. In the Southeast Asian market, US$20-80/ton increases passed for GPPS although most producers continue to complain that they could not lift their prices to the level where they can cover their theoretical production costs based on spot styrene. Meanwhile, import HIPS offers recorded US$30/ton increases on week over week basis. Despite the fact that PS prices are still under upward pressure coming from costs and also from the higher Chinese market, traders feel anxious about sustainability of higher offer levels considering the rather slow demand in the region. Looking at Turkey’s PS market, offer levels gained US$80-110/ton for Asian GPPS over the past week while the HIPS range rose by up to US$20/ton over the same period. Players report firm market conditions, pointing to the tight styrene and PS supplies in Asia while the general expectations centre on further hikes for the upcoming days. In Egypt’s PS market, Asian offer levels continued to gain ground for another week as GPPS prices moved up by US$50-91/ton and HIPS prices increased by US$60-93/ton over the past week. Like the other global markets, these increases were triggered by the higher styrene and oil costs as well as the shutdowns in Asia. Egyptian players, too, expect the current increasing trend to continue for the upcoming days given the escalating upstream costs in Asian markets and improved demand in China.
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