Demand is holding up well despite ongoing headwinds.
Polystyrene (PS) prices in Europe increased €70/mt from June to July, according to GC Intelligence price assessments. The increase was in line with the increase in costs. Producers on some accounts were even able to secure increases of up to €85/mt.
The increase in prices in July was predominately to do with the increase in costs, namely the styrene price. However, demand was also recovering and supported the price increases.
But sectors such as construction are still struggling, with participants worried that the lack of investment will hit demand in 2021.
On the other hand, single use demand was surprisingly strong in July. Consumers seem to prefer single use plastics to protect themselves amid rising infections. This likely fuelled the increase in demand in July. There is also a clear increase in demand for white goods.
However, it seems that despite the increase in demand in some applications, overall volumes are still lower than they were before the pandemic.
Nevertheless, producers are succeeding in managing productions to ensure a balanced market.
But as infections are rising, there are still downside risks along the value chain. While prices should continue to rise, albeit at a slow pace during the summer, a spike in infections could easily revert this trend.