Will firmer local PS prices attract imports to Italy?

07-May-12
Initial May PS offers were announced with increases to the Italian market towards the end of last week after the May styrene contract settled with an increase from April, as per the pricing service of ChemOrbis. Import offers for Indian and Pakistani GPPS were reported at competitive levels last week, suggesting the possibility that firmer local prices for May will attract non-European imports to the Italian market given bearish sentiment in Asian markets along with buyers’ resistance to higher prices. Towards the end of last week, the May styrene contracts settled in Europe with a €47/ton increase from April. The increase in the styrene contract had been anticipated by the market given the €58/ton increase recorded in the May benzene contracts. Shortly after the styrene settlement, Styrolution announced a €60/ton increase on its May GPPS prices while adding that the company intends to maintain the premium of its HIPS prices over its GPPS prices at €140/ton. Other producers are expected to announce similar increase for May now that the styrene contract has settled higher, although buyers have expressed skepticism regarding the feasibility of higher prices, says ChemOrbis. One Italian converter expressed their May buy ideas with a rollover from April before the settlement of the styrene contract last week, commenting, “We have heard that sellers are planning to announce higher prices. However, we feel that sellers will not be able to push through any increases as demand is not strong enough to support higher prices.” Another converter manufacturing egg containers concurred, stating, “We have heard that sellers are planning to lift their prices for May, but we expect to pay rollovers this month as demand is not very encouraging.” The converter added that they received an offer for Indian GPPS on a CIF Italy, 60 days deferred payment basis last week. Offers for Indian and Pakistani GPPS were also reported from another converter manufacturing plastic kitchenware. The buyer told ChemOrbis that the offers they received for Pakistani origin came down by $100/ton when compared with the past month. “We are planning to negotiate with our suppliers as we are aware that GPPS prices are being offered at even lower levels in Asia and we believe that we can obtain some discounts on this origin,” the buyer commented.
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