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The USA’s Epsilyte Implements a Second Consecutive Price Hike for Expanded Polystyrene Amid Tight Feedstocks

The USA’s Epsilyte Implements a Second Consecutive Price Hike for Expanded Polystyrene Amid Tight Feedstocks

  • 13-Oct-2021
  • Journalist: Bob Duffler

North America’s leading manufacturer of expanded polystyrene, Epsilyte LLC, has raised the October prices of its expanded polystyrene grades by USD 110 per ton right after increasing the prices by the same amount in September. The company justifies its decision as a move to keep pace with the high supply chain costs and operational challenges arising from tight feedstock supply in the country.

Polystyrene is a transparent thermoplastic formed from the polymerization of styrene monomers which is the downstream product of benzene. Expanded polystyrene conforms to the lightweight, rigid, white coloured solid foam product formed from the solid polystyrene beads through a suspension process performed in presence of a blowing agent. Expanded polystyrene is primarily used in food packaging, lightweight protective packaging, building insulations, toys, automotive and road safety applications.

The USA has been witnessing a subdued supply of styrene and benzene feedstocks owing to the heavy damages incurred by hurricane Ida at the Louisiana petrochemical base in late August that led to the shutdown of several production facilities in the region including the 950 KTPA styrene plant of Americas Styrenics LLC located at Saint James.

As per ChemAnalyst, the global demand for expanded polystyrene in 2020 amounted to a value of USD 9.5 billion. The expanded polystyrene demand is expected to witness a constant rise in the next five years with a CAGR of around 4% backed by the proliferating packaging industry and increasing usage of thermal insulations in construction activities. The current state in the USA showcases fluctuating market dynamics as the productions are still under the revival stage post-Ida damages. Until the third-party utilities get reinstated and production plants resume operation, the supply of styrene and benzene feedstocks are expected to be squeezed out thereby creating pressure on the polystyrene prices that are expected to soar further.

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