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Asia EPS demand may improve in second quarter

January 17/2011

(ICIS) -- Demand for expandable polystyrene (EPS) in Asia is expected to remain weak until the second quarter, but prices are on the rise due to strong feedstock costs, industry sources said on Monday.


Fewer activities in the EPS downstream sectors of construction and infrastructure, particularly in the key China market, stifled demand ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays on 2-8 February, they said.


But production costs were growing amid spikes in prices of feedstock styrene monomer, forcing EPS suppliers to raise prices to maintain workable margins, industry sources said.


Packaging EPS prices rose by about 11% to $1,550/tonne (?1,163/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) China in January from $1,400/tonne CFR China in late November, as SM values surged 12% to more than $1,400/tonne CFR China over the same period, according to ICIS data.


Major EPS producers in Asia include the Loyal Group, Wuxi Xingda Foam Plastics, Ming Dih Group, Leasty Chemical and Taita Chemical.


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