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INEOS STYROLUTION DECREASES PS PRICES BY €210/MT
Falling Charts

INEOS Styrolution decreases PS prices by €210/mt in September versus August.

The announcement follows yet another decrease of the styrene monomer contract price in September of €287/mt.

While the company noted the decrease of general purpose polystyrene (GPPS), it also noted a surcharge of high impact polystyrene (HIPS) of €120/mt.

After having reached a record peak in July above €2000/mt, the SM contract price has posted big corrections in August and now in September.

As Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis, demand has weakened substantially across the polymer industry.

The current uncertainty and volatility across value chains will most probably persist and could intensify when seasonal demand for gas increases during the winter.

TRINSEO PAUSES THE SALE OF STYRENICS BUSENESS
M&A Puzzle

Trinseo pauses the sale of its styrenics business on the back of uncertainty preventing it “to obtain full value for the business”.

The company blamed the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe, and Economic uncertainty.

In November 2021, Trinseo had announced the divestiture, which included polystyrene, feedstocks, and 50% ownership of Americas Styrenics LLC.

Nonetheless, Trinseo intends to reevaluate the sale when conditions improve.

PS PRICES POSTED TRIPLE DIGIT INCREASES
polystyrene granules

PS prices posted triple digit increases in July versus June in Europe after a surprise hike in raw materials costs.

With the price of benzene increasing €386/mt, the styrene monomer price rose €155/mt.

There was little polystyrene (PS) buyers could do but to absorbe another big increase in July.

However, with fundamentals remaining soft, there was room to negotiate.

The outcome was a rather wide range of price increases, from €50/mt to €150/mt.

This suggests that on some accounts, suppliers had to once again accept a decrease in margins.

The falling margins is a trend that has been developing since the second quarter throught the polymer industry.

As strong signals point to a petenital sharp fall in economic activity, there is a strong chance that PS prices will continue to post decreases at least until the end of the year.

EU CONSUMER CONFIDENCE REACHES RECORD LOW

EU consumer confidence reaches the lowest ever recorded level in July, according to the latest data from the European Commission.

The new numbers show a decrease of 3 percentage points for the EU and 3.2 percentage points for the Euro Area.

The new levels surpass the lowest point reached during the beginning of the pandemic, raising fears of a major economic contraction.

The polymer industry has been feeling a considerable pressure on demand which is to do with a multitude of reasons.

But this latest reading reinforces the view that consumer jitters over inflation, war, and a looming energy crisis are additional major factors slowing down demand for polymers.

POLYMER MARKETS CONTINUED TO WEAKEN IN JULY
falling trend

Polymer markets continued to weaken substantially in July in Europe on the back of falling demand.

This was making price negotiations difficult as many producers continued to face increasing costs.

Demand for most polymers has been getting weaker since the beginning of the second quarter.

Activity has remained soft in automotive but has recently started to fall in other markets. Some of these include appliances and even construction.

The decrease in demand is attributed to many factors. Some of these include supply chain disruptions, seasonality, and high raw material prices. But most probably also inflationary pressures.

This weakness will most probably continue for the rest of the summer, and likely for the rest of the year.

In some markets, the fall in demand has been rather drastic, resulting in players having to stop production lines.

Polypropylene (PP) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) are some of the worst-hit markets, also because of competitive imports.

With the relentless increases in energy prices, Europe continues to lose competitiveness across entire supply chains, which is probably weakening demand further.

Meanwhile, during this time of the year activity slows down because of the summer, and this has certainly accentuated the fall in demand in some sectors.

There were markets that were still performing relatively well, such as electrical and electronics and packaging. However, this was not enough to offset the losses in other markets.

As demand continues to weaken amid rising inflation, the situation could become much worse for all players during the winter when there is a greater risk of a spike in energy costs.

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