Lower demand, feedstock costs drive down PS prices in April

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 9, 2013 2:37 pm ET
Updated: May 10, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Resin Pricing, Polystyrene, Materials Suppliers

AKRON, OHIO — Lower feedstock costs and waning demand led North American solid polystyrene resin prices to tick down an average of 3 cents per pound in April.

It's the second price drop to hit the regional solid PS market in the last three months. Prices had been flat in March after falling an average of 2 cents in February. The 5-cent drop so far in 2013 equates to a decline of about 4 percent, based on prices for high-impact PS used in injection molding, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart. Solid PS prices saw a net gain of 10 cents for full-year 2012.

Market sources said that the decline was due in part to lower prices for benzene used to make styrene monomer feedstock. Benzene prices for April were $4.36 per gallon, down 7 percent from March levels. Prices for benzene declined steadily after hitting an all-time high of $5.16 per gallon in January.

But those declines apparently have ended in May, as benzene prices for the month settled at $4.47 per gallon, up almost 3 percent vs. April. Sources said that increase could lead to higher PS resin prices in May or at least help to keep prices from declining further.

North American solid PS demand fell 2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. Sales of PS into the electrical/electronic end market provided a bright spot for the quarter, growing almost 12 percent.

During 2012, regional PS sales had fallen 3.5 percent. The region's PS market is looking to reverse a long-term slide caused by high prices and competition from other resins.

Also this week, PN is correcting prices for expanded PS (EPS) on its pricing chart to show changes that have occurred since early 2012. EPS prices have increased a net of 16 cents per pound in that period, for an upward swing of about 12 percent.

The correction is shown on EPS grades used in cups as well as on unmodified grades on this week's chart.

EPS sales in the U.S. and Canada fell 10 percent in the first quarter of 2013, according to ACC. The regional EPS market is trying to recapture the momentum of 2012, when sales boomed almost 8 percent. That increase was fueled by a sales gain of almost 40 percent in EPS used in shape applications.


Comments

Lower demand, feedstock costs drive down PS prices in April

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: May 9, 2013 2:37 pm ET
Updated: May 10, 2013 12:34 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Bayer spinning off plastics business

September 18, 2014 8:49 am ET

Bayer AG will spin off its MaterialScience plastics group into a separate, publicly-traded company within the next 12 to 18 months.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Local Motors 3-D prints a car

September 18, 2014 6:00 am ET

A time lapse of the car being printed, we visit a rigid package manufacturer who is expanding and the strong M&A market might continue according to...    More

Image

China's Polymax Elastomer launches U.S. production in Illinois

September 17, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Chinese materials maker Polymax Elastomer Technology Co. Ltd. has opened a North American production site and headquarters in Waukegan, Ill.    More

Image

Firewire rides aerospace materials to new surfboard design

September 17, 2014 2:18 pm ET

Surfboard manufacturer Firewire Surfboards Ltd. has developed a new board design it says is more flexible than its predecessor designs.    More

Image

PolyOne helps nonprofit get water purification to more places in need

September 17, 2014 1:59 pm ET

Resin giant PolyOne Corp. is teaming up with WaterStep, a non-profit water purification agency, to help the group assist a greater number of disaster ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events