North American polystyrene resin prices were down an average of 2 cents per pound in January, marking the third consecutive month that prices were down for that material.
The 2-cent drop followed a price drop for benzene, which is used to make styrene monomer. Benzene prices declined almost 5 percent to $3.19 per gallon in January, a drop of 16 cents.
Improved domestic supplies helped drive benzene pricing down for the month. One market source told Plastics News that there was "a lot of variability" in PS pricing for January.
PS prices had been down 3 cents in December and 4 cents in November after climbing a total of 12 cents in the previous three months.
North American PS prices finished 2023 up a net of 1 cent per pound and benzene prices up 28 cents. Global PS markets had to deal with oversupply and low demand growth for most of the year.
PS pricing in early 2024 likely will be impacted by a temporary shutdown of styrene production at a plant operated by Americas Styrenics in St. James, La. The unit was taken down for scheduled maintenance on Jan. 21 and will resume production on Feb. 23, according to a report from ChemAnalyst.com. The unit has annual production capacity of about 1.1 billion pounds of styrene.