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US polystyrene producers eye September price increases
HOUSTON, August 17, 2018 (PCW) -- Total and Americas Styrenics have both notified PS customers this week that they will seek 4 cpp price increases, effective September 1.
One reason cited for the increase proposals was rising styrene monomer values, especially in Europe where a recent force majeure event has tightened supply.
US Gulf styrene spot prices are around $1350/mt (61.2 cpp), up $105/mt (4.8 cpp) over the past four weeks, according to PetroChem Wire data.
US PS suppliers are also positioning for possible weather-related supply chain disruptions as the hurricane risk for the US Gulf Coast reaches its peak in September.
Benzene, which represents about 70% of the feedstock cost for PS, usually acts as the primary driver of PS price fluctuations.
Spot benzene is up by 8 cpg over the past four weeks. A 10 cpg fluctuation in benzene costs roughly equates to a 1 cpp move in PS prices.
That benzene move by itself is unlikely to support a 4 cpp PS increase in September. However, PS producers are looking to recover margin losses in July, when the prime PS market fell by 3 cpp while benzene contract prices only fell 15 cpg. -- David Barry