Polystyrene resin prices jump

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 16, 2014 2:14 pm ET
Updated: January 17, 2014 10:02 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Materials Suppliers, Resin Pricing, Food service
Companies & Associations American Chemistry Council

Prices for solid polystyrene resin in North America have increased by an average of 4 cents per pound since Dec. 1.

The increase was tied in to stronger seasonal demand and higher prices for benzene feedstock, market sources said. Benzene is used to make PS precursor styrene monomer.

The December price hike means that regional solid PS prices for the year finished up by a net of 4 cents per pound. Through November, solid PS price volatility for the year — including increases and decreases — had totaled 12 cents, but had left solid PS prices in the same place they had been on Jan. 1.

Through November, PS sales for 2013 were up 0.6 percent to just over 4.2 billion pounds, according to the American Chemistry Council in Washington. That may not sound like much, but it's put the regional PS market on track to show demand growth for only the second time in the last decade. The last time the market notched demand growth was in 2011.

An improving U.S. economy has boosted demand for many of the consumer-based products that rely on PS — particularly those in the food service and food packaging sectors. Sales of PS into that sector grew 0.7 percent to almost 2.5 billion pounds in the first 11 months of 2013, according to ACC.

PS sales into electrical/electronic uses — including major appliances — grew 1.7 percent to almost 360 million pounds in that period.

The 4-cent December hike surprised some market watchers, since demand and upward pricing pressure for PS tend to taper off later in the year. The hike was tied into higher prices for benzene, which stood at $4.10 per gallon in November — a drop of 6 percent from the previous month — before climbing to $4.48 per gallon in December, supporting the hike in PS resin.

Benzene prices for January already have settled at $4.84 per gallon — for a two-month hike of 18 percent — leading market watchers to expect another possible PS resin price hike.

Two incidents affected benzene and PS availability in the last four months of 2013. On Nov. 19, a steam explosion killed two workers and caused the shutdown of a Total SA plant making benzene and mixed xylenes in Antwerp, Belgium. While in mid-September, a power outage at a PS plant operated by Americas Styrenics in Torrance, Calif., resulted in the loss of several days of production and led to delayed shipments.


Comments

Polystyrene resin prices jump

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 16, 2014 2:14 pm ET
Updated: January 17, 2014 10:02 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Material Insights: PE makers declare force majeure

July 21, 2014 1:53 pm ET

Plus, changes in PET bottle resin price, PolyOne closing facilities and CCP Composites gets bought.    More

China launches investments in Belarus

July 21, 2014 10:10 am ET

China is preparing to invest in a major bottle grade PET production project planned by the Belarus PET and polyester fibers producer...    More

Image

Infiltrator goes very large scale for injection press

July 18, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Infiltrator Systems Inc. has designed and built a mammoth injection press, with 6,000 tons of clamping force, to mold septic tank halves measuring 15 ...    More

Image

Polynt, CCP create composite resins giant

July 18, 2014 10:13 am ET

France's Total SA has agreed to sell CCP Composites to Polynt Group SpA, based in Italy, for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

PET prices climb 2 cents

July 17, 2014 2:22 pm ET

After holding their ground in May, North American PET prices rebounded to show an average increase of 2 cents per pound in June.    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

More Events