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Polystyrene prices fall in Europe and Asia

According to plastics pricing service ChemOrbis, styrene prices are dropping in Europe and Asia, offering some respite to processors of styrenics-based plastics. In Europe, spot styrene prices have fallen $115/ton (€80/ton) on an FOB NWE basis since the beginning of May, with about half of that drop for this monomer seen in just the past week.

Lower benzene prices in the region, as well as volatile crude oil prices, coupled with supply concerns, especially for general purpose polystyrene (GP-PS), are amongst the main reasons behind this softening, according to ChemOrbis (Istanbul, Turkey). In the spot benzene market, offers fell by $110/ton (€77/ton) when compared to the start of May due to soft demand and higher-than-expected imports into the region.
 
In Italy's PS market, distributors started to lower their initial May prices in order to generate better buying interest. As a result of this the high end of the spot offers came down slightly, particularly for GPPS, while high impact PS (HIPS) prices still see support from firm butadiene costs despite overall weak demand.
 
In Asia, spot styrene offers have dropped by $80/ton compared to prices at the beginning of May, with the weekly decrease around $25/ton on an FOB Korea basis. This decrease is caused by slow demand in China, reports ChemOrbis. Further decreases are anticipated given the lower benzene prices in the region amidst fluctuating oil costs. Spot benzene prices are off $110/ton when compared to early May.
 
Looking at China's PS market, import prices retreated for both dutiable and non-dutiable origins by $10-$20/ton at the low end and they remained stable at the high end of the ranges in this past week. Overall demand is still slow in the country as most buyers expect to see further decreases given the softer upstream costs amidst quiet demand.

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