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US Polystyrene Fall Sharply as Feedstock Prices Shift Balance

US Polystyrene Fall Sharply as Feedstock Prices Shift Balance

  • 23-Jul-2021
  • Journalist: Harold Finch

After climbing since Q4 last year, US Polystyrene prices have turned southwards and are expected to plunge down. Polystyrene prices in the US have witnessed a major seesaw battle in H1 2021 where at first, they rose to extremely high in numbers and now falling sharply.

Earlier in Q1, Polystyrene prices went awry by production cutbacks in the aftermath of polar storm which devastated the petrochemical production. And, in the beginning of Q2, prices were pulled by supply shortages and demand surge. As March and early April form the high demand months for Polystyrene, traditionally. During that phase, the price of Polystyrene high impact grade crossed USD 3000 per MT mark.

However, since June 2021, Polystyrene market has fairly steadied as supply fundamentals have improved significantly with abundant feedstock Benzene and Styrene availability and demand has also fell measurably to push the prices back towards stabilization.

The first dip in the prices came in June 2021 when the offers fell considerably by 8 cents/lb (USD 176 per MT) on the back of retreating feedstock Styrene and Benzene prices. Demand has been stagnant due to competition from other more versatile products like Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polycarbonate. Another factor at play has been the change in people’s behaviour as vaccine rollouts throughout US have made people to go outdoors and opt out of getting their things delivered. This has pushed less consumption from the packaging sector which forms a critical area of interest for polystyrene intake.

As per ChemAnalyst, “Short term market outlook for Polystyrene appears to be bearish where prices may slip further, however conventionally, in early Q4, the demand for Polystyrene will likely accelerate and therefore prices are expected to climb in October-November phase.”

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