European Expandable Polystyrene Demand Healthy in May, but General Purpose PS Disappoints

There is a divergence between expandable polystyrene demand and general purpose polystyrene demand in Europe as EPS demand firmed but GPPS uptake lagged, market sources said this week.<br />EPS sellers were heard minimizing price decreases on a monthly basis in May due to strong demand. The EPS net contract price was assessed at Eur1,755/mt...

There is a divergence between expandable polystyrene demand and general purpose polystyrene demand in Europe as EPS demand firmed but GPPS uptake lagged, market sources said this week.

EPS sellers were heard minimizing price decreases on a monthly basis in May due to strong demand. The EPS net contract price was assessed at Eur1,755/mt ($2,075/mt) FD NWE Wednesday, down Eur35/mt on the month. The drop was smaller than the styrene contract monthly fall of Eur40/mt.

But the GPPS net contract price was assessed at Eur1,440/mt FD NWE Wednesday, down Eur40/mt on the month, with some sellers saying they had given further concessions to prices in some regions.

EPS seller sources said uptake was a big improvement from low levels in Q1, adding that the construction sector was performing strongly, which supported demand. EPS is used as insulation in buildings.

On the flip side, GPPS demand was heard as slow. "Demand is much better than in February or March, but below expectations," a third seller source said, adding that the public holidays in European countries had created logistics problems and reduced demand.

Other sources said GPPS demand was weak as customers were still drawing down inventories they had accumulated at the end of last year.

Anticipation of lower prices in June also deterred converters from buying more than their requirements.

In terms of GPPS spot prices, a divergence was reported between prices in Northwest Europe and Southern Europe.

A distributor source based in Italy said traders were aggressively lowering prices to attract business in the region.

The GPPS spot price was assessed at Eur1,330/mt FD NWE Wednesday.
Source: www.platts.com