For the Quarter Ending September 2023
In the US, the Polystyrene market witnessed a slight declining trend throughout the third quarter of 2023. The beginning of Q3 marked a bearish trend in the Polystyrene sector, driven primarily by subdued demand from downstream industries, particularly derivatives and packaging sectors. Additionally, a consistent influx of material from manufacturing units led to an oversupply situation, further dampening market conditions. However, in August, the price of polystyrene remained stable, with feedstock styrene and crude oil costs also remaining stable, supporting the Polystyrene market. The stability of the US market was further reinforced by a meticulous focus on supply chain management and domestic production augmentation. Furthermore, an apparent decline in US exports to the Asian region, caused by drought-related issues in Panama affecting Panama Canal traffic, led to sufficient inventory levels in the domestic market. This prompted suppliers to maintain stable prices instead of further increments. In September, a slight increment in the Polystyrene market occurred. This price surge resulted from a noticeable mismatch between supply and demand dynamics. Heightened requirements from downstream industries like Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and the food and beverage packaging sector significantly contributed to this imbalance, leading to increased trade volumes to meet the growing demand.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Polystyrene GPPS FOB Qingdao (China) market witnessed an increase of approximately 0.5% during the third quarter of 2023. Initially, the market had experienced a decline due to reduced demand, particularly from prominent sectors like packaging and its derivatives. However, as the second month of Q3 unfolded, the Chinese Polystyrene market had noticeably showcased an increment in its price trend in both August and September. This increase had been brought on by increased feedstock Styrene and crude oil prices. Furthermore, demand from downstream industries, particularly Packaging and Construction, had displayed a tempered growth rate, while the heightened requirement from the Consumer goods manufactures had aided in pushing the market upward. Additionally, an apparent decline in US exports to the Asian region, caused by drought-stricken Panama and low water levels that prompted the Central American country to reduce the number of vessels passing through the critically important Panama Canal, had resulted in a surge in production rates in the Chinese region. This had increased the overall demand for base material and raised the product's cost accordingly.
Throughout the entire third quarter of 2023, the European Polystyrene market experienced a decline of approximately 5%. At the beginning of Q3, the market adopted a bearish trend characterized by limited trading fundamentals. Demand from downstream sectors, including derivatives and construction, remained moderate, but a continuous influx of material into the market made buyers cautious due to high polystyrene levels. In August, the Polystyrene sector continued its bearish trend, mainly due to subdued demand from downstream industries, particularly in derivatives and packaging sectors. Furthermore, a consistent influx of material from the Turkish market led to an oversupply situation, further dampening market conditions. The European market also felt the effects of a weakened Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which added to the challenges impacting market dynamics. However, in September, the Polystyrene market experienced a significant upswing in prices. This increase was the result of a shift in demand, with key sectors such as the Automotive industry and packaging showing substantial interest. Additionally, the downstream construction and building sector aimed to build up their stock at lower price levels for future requirements, leading to active spot trading within the domestic market and keeping market participants engaged and motivated. Furthermore, the surge in feedstock Styrene costs played a pivotal role in elevating the overall production costs of the product, contributing to the observed price hike.
In Saudi Arabia, the Polystyrene market exhibited a mixed trend during the third quarter of 2023. Market sentiments were influenced by various factors that affected both supply and demand dynamics. At the start of the quarter, the polystyrene market experienced a downward price trend. Analysts primarily attributed this decline to a lackluster demand from sectors such as Insulation and packaging industries. However, as the second month of Q3 unfolded, the polystyrene market began to show an upward trend. This increase in material prices occurred due to a shift in demand, with significant sectors like the Automotive industry and the downstream construction and building sector looking to build up their stock at lower price levels for future requirements. This led to healthy spot trading activity both domestically and in overseas markets, keeping recyclers motivated. Furthermore, the surge in the cost of feedstock styrene played a significant role in raising the overall production cost of the product. Moreover, the Polystyrene market experienced a notable upward trend in the month of September, primarily driven by the surge in feedstock Styrene prices, which was fueled by the rise in Naphtha costs. This increase in the cost of upstream materials impacted the overall production cost and had an effect on the derivative market fundamentals. Additionally, robust market fundamentals from overseas downstream industries, particularly in the Automotive and packaging sectors, played a significant role in boosting the market value of the product.
For the Quarter Ending June 2023
In the US, the Polystyrene market has experienced a noticeable declining trend within the entire second quarter of 2023. At the beginning of Q2 Polystyrene market showcased a balanced trend in the wake of moderated demand and supply conditions. However, in the month of May rise in the consumption rate of material from the major construction and packaging industries simultaneously led to a surge in procurement and export of the commodity. However, In May, the debt crisis that happened due to the simultaneous downfall of major banks in the USA caused a drastic effect on the US marketing condition and provoked the buyers to hold back from placing large orders. Overall, the effect of these activities was observed in the month of June with declining market fundamentals from the major associated downstream industries. Additionally, the declining styrene prices had a persistent influence on market participants leading them to maintain weaker prices in order to ensure affordability. Overall, the Polystyrene GPPS FAS Houston (USA) showcased a decrement of (1.5%) during the entire Q2 time.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Polystyrene GPPS FOB Qingdao (China) market has witnessed a notable decline of approximately (3.2%) during the second quarter of 2023. The Market's initial descent was primarily triggered by a decrease in demand from prominent sectors such as packaging and its derivatives industries. As the second month of Q2 unfolded, the EPS market condition remained stable in a state of in the wake of moderated supply-demand conditions ensuring a well-balanced region. Furthermore, in the month of June, an increase in the inventory level in the domestic ports and poor demand from the associated industries consequently opened the doors for the suppliers to offer lower bids for the commodity and force sellers to provide discounts on the material. As continuously declining feedstock styrene costs are manipulated, the ventures do not increase material prices furthermore to keep the prices economical. Buyers refrained from placing large orders, and with it, moderate trading activities were observed during the entire Q2.
The polystyrene market continuously follows a declining price trajectory during the entire second quarter of 2023. Falling trading activities in the European Market have created a generally skeptical market. The extended weakness in the buyer appetite in the domestic Market, with sluggish end-user consumption in key industries such as the packaging and construction sector, prompted market participants to keep the prices on the weaker side to keep the prices economical. Adequate supplies of products in the domestic ports kept the Market oversupplied, and due to the plentiful availability of the product in the region, low demand amid a Slump in purchasing activities of polystyrene was observed as the demand recovery fell short of expectations. Overall consumption showed a deep contraction and failed to regain. Additionally, the Market remained hampered by slipping demand coupled with fluctuating feedstock Styrene prices and also with a continuous decline in energy prices. Furthermore, economic uncertainty and recession fear in the European region continued to govern market sentiments, with it Polystyrene GPPS FD Rotterdam (Netherlands) showcasing a decrement of approximately (8%) during the entire Q2 of 2023.
In Saudi Arabia, the Polystyrene market experienced a mixed trend during the second quarter of 2023. The market sentiments fluctuated based on various factors impacting demand and supply dynamics. At the beginning of the quarter, the polystyrene market witnessed a surge in price trends. This growth is attributed to the surge in demand for materials from packaging and its derivative industries. Additionally, favorable market conditions and stable economic growth played a role in the upward trend of the polystyrene market in April. During May, the polystyrene market started showing a declining trend during this period, and this was due to weak cost support from the base material styrene and a consistent inflow of products across the region. However, in June, the polystyrene market again experienced a drop in its prices as the attitude towards the demand remained dubious, on the back, disrupted market sentiments from the downstream packaging and construction industry. Enterprises encountered difficulties in their commodity orders added to having sufficient stocks, with a decline in trading activities added to weak market sentiment for this commodity. Overall, Polystyrene GPPS FOB-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) showcased a decrement of approximately (7.2%) during the entire Q2 OF 2023.
For the Quarter Ending March 2023
The Polystyrene market had conflicting sentiments in the first quarter of 2023 as a result of fluctuating upstream (crude oil) prices in the regional market. As the demand-supply imbalance widened and production costs rose, the price of Polystyrene soared towards the end of the quarter. US laborers went on strike in protest for better pay and working conditions. The domestic Polystyrene market's manufacturing rate was influenced at the conclusion of the previous quarter by lowering temperatures and rainfall. The final costs of Polystyrene in the US market decreased proportionally as downstream purchasing activity decreased.
Polystyrene prices in the Asia-Pacific market have been steadily declining due to a slow production rate. The first quarter saw a dip due to declining upstream (crude oil) prices on the worldwide market; consequently, suppliers and end users stocked up on the product. Additionally, the product's downstream packaging sector demand in February was weak, which had a proportionate effect on the ultimate prices. Additionally, there were additional issues at play in the second half of the quarter, including supply chain delays and trucker strikes. The Chinese market was quiet for the entirety of the quarter due to low demand for the product throughout the spring holidays. Prices in the Asian market were impacted by fewer supplier inquiries.
The Polystyrene market displayed unfavorable market sentiments during the first quarter of 2023 as a result of low pricing for the material in the local market. Along with fluctuating crude oil prices on the domestic market, the product's demand fell. Although the inflation rate stabilized, the overall polystyrene market continued to trend downward. In spite of local seasonal fluctuations, the demand for the product decreased due to rising energy costs and a low employment rate. Slow demand in the polystyrene and solvent sectors influenced the ultimate costs of the material in the European market.
Polystyrene prices varied in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to shifting crude and feedstock Styrene prices. While the first and last months showed an increase in prices, the second month of the quarter experienced a decline in prices. Additionally, December's low temperatures and festive holidays reduced the amount of Polystyrene produced in the US. The downstream market's purchasing activity decreased proportionately, which had an effect on Polystyrene's final prices. There was downward pressure in the price realization of Polystyrene in the US markets due to the low comparable freight rates between the US and Asian markets. Polystyrene GPPS FAS Houston (USA) was averaged at USD 2213/MT.
On account of falling feedstock Styrene prices, the Asia Pacific market saw a steady reduction in Polystyrene prices. The fourth quarter saw relatively low prices for the commodity due to strong production rates and weak demand from the downstream industries. Due to COVID restrictions and weak demand in the domestic Chinese market, the Chinese market remained quiet in Q4. Additionally, Q4 saw a string of declining upstream prices, which enabled companies to step up production and later stockpile, resulting in adequate supplies in the region. Polystyrene GPPS FOB Busan (South Korea) prices were assessed at USD 1553/MT.
The market for Polystyrene displayed negative market sentiments throughout the last quarter of 2022 as a result of shifting upstream crude oil prices in the European market. In the midst of fluctuations in the global crude oil value, Polystyrene demand remained low. However, there was some stabilization in the inflation rates in the European region, and the price of Polystyrene continued to decline during the quarter. Downstream derivatives such as Expanded Polystyrene, SBR, and SAN likewise followed a similar pricing trajectory in line with the low prices of Polystyrene. Furthermore, traders lowered their offers to maintain a balance between supply and demand. Polystyrene GPPS FD Rotterdam (Netherlands) was assessed at USD 1670/MT.