As unexpected headlines go, “Polystyrene maker announces 9-cent price decrease” isn't quite up there with “Cleveland Browns win Super Bowl.”
But it's close.
In a short Dec. 31 news release, PS maker Americas Styrenics LLC announced it would drop prices for all grades of PS by 9 cents per pound on Jan. 1. No reason for the decrease was cited in the letter from the firm, which is based in The Woodlands, Texas.
North American PS prices fell a total of 12 cents per pound in the final four months of 2014, as prices for benzene feedstock fell more than 20 percent to less than $4 per gallon after peaking in July. But thanks to price hikes earlier in the year, regional PS prices were down only a net of 1 cent per pound for the year, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart.
Market watchers told PN that they expected the 9-cent January price drop to take hold in the broader market — especially since Americas Styrenics is one of only three major PS makers remaining in the region.
Although resin makers typically announce price increase attempts via letters to customers or in news releases, it's rare for them to do the same where price decreases are concerned.
Through November, U.S./Canadian sales of solid PS were down almost 3 percent, according to the American Chemistry Council.