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, Resin Pricing, Food service, Materials Suppliers
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

Vinyl siding's lead slips, but industry pushing back

July 29, 2014 2:04 pm ET

Vinyl siding continues to be the top cladding choice for home builders and remodelers but fiber cement is gaining ground — at an alarming rate...    More

Unipex Group buys Ferguson Chemical Innovation

July 29, 2014 1:57 pm ET

Chemical distributor Unipex Group Inc. announced July 29 that it had purchased Ferguson Chemical Innovation, a Brampton, Ontario-based supplier of...    More

Image

Carbon black supplier Orion begins trading on NYSE

July 29, 2014 11:29 am ET

Orion Engineered Carbons S.a.r.l. has priced the initial public offering of 19.5 million common shares at a price to the public of $18 per share.    More

Image

Dow sees solid second quarter performance

July 29, 2014 11:19 am ET

Dow Chemical Co. has reported its second quarter figures, with its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, according to the company.More

Image

Evonik sells polyimide foams operation to Boyd

July 29, 2014 10:46 am ET

Modesto, Calif.-based Boyd Corp., a manufacturers of specialty material and sealing agents, has purchased Evonik Industries’ Solimid...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

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

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

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

More Events