European polystyrene (PS) prices in December significantly decreased due to reduced demand, competitive imports, and efforts to lower inventory levels. This resulted in aggressive pricing, with some transactions notably lower than the published prices.
Forecasts suggest short-term market stabilization with a gradual seasonal increase, and better outlook in the second half. Poor market conditions continue for most sectors. Oversupply exacerbated by increased imports place producers’ margins under pressure.
For several months, the market grappled with an oversupply, a situation that worsened in December as increases in imports collided with dwindling demand. Even though lower operating rates somewhat mitigated this oversupply, a fierce battle for volumes ensured good availability.
The trade landscape, as depicted in Exhibit 3, offered little optimism. This year, exports have been diminishing while imports concurrently rose, a significant trend given the stark decline in demand. Notably, October marked a sharp increase in imports, with their continued competitiveness underscored by reported prices in December falling below €1300/MT.
In upstream markets, notable price reductions were observed: the styrene monomer contract price decreased by €116/MT to €1370/MT, benzene by €133/MT to €792/MT, and ethylene by €30/MT to €1185/MT. Nonetheless, despite these reductions in raw material costs, the weak market conditions necessitated corresponding price declines, ultimately keeping producers’ margins squeezed.
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Polystyrene (PS) Report
The GC Intelligence™ Polystyrene (PS) Market Prices, Forecasts, and Analysis Report is published every month. And the report tracks prices and delivers market insights of the two main grades, GPPS and HIPS.