EPS prices opened 2021 on a strong note in Turkey mainly supported by a lack of stock pressure on sellers and rising styrene contracts in Europe.
Freight rates did not show much easing following steep increases that occurred in late 2020 which also contributed to the scene. Meanwhile, purchasing activities were mostly tied to needs in the first two weeks of January.
Domestic producers sought increases of $110-200/ton for January while hike amounts varied depending on the producer. The notional EPS white ranges stood at $1420-1500/ton for regular and $1450-1530/ton for inflammable grade, both FCA Turkey, not inc. VAT. The latest series of hikes followed $300/ton increases back in December.
Further EPS increases were attributed to higher styrene settlements for January in Europe. Multiple maintenance shutdowns in December 2020 and January 2021 kept availability limited on the side of domestic producers and provided an extra support to sellers.
“If energy prices sustain their uptrend or hover around the prevailing highs, EPS prices may stand above the $1500/ton threshold next month,” participants projected.
EPS Carbon Black
Domestic EPS black prices were also reported higher at $1850/ton FD/ex-warehouse Turkey, not inc. VAT.
European offers moved up to €1500-1520/ton with a trader reporting, “Supply from the region remains uncomfortable.”
On the buyers’ side, converters intended to procure their needs as end product orders have been satisfactory since the last quarter of 2020. “Our orders are up by around 30% year-on-year. Citizens have migrated from cities to small towns or villages in response to the ongoing outbreak risks. This spurred home improvement or house sales in several parts of the country and buoyed EPS demand,” a manufacturer opined.
As for February, players expect rising crude oil futures to support EPS trend. ICE Brent Europe and WTI crude oil futures have reached their highest levels since February 2020 to average at $56/bbl and $53/bbl, according to ChemOrbis Price Wizard. On the other hand, how will EPS demand evolve next month will be a factor to watch amid seasonal factors. Buyers are already struggling to reflect their soaring raw material costs onto their end product prices.
In global markets, the US EPS market reportedly maintained its uptrend moving into the new year owing to high demand. On the contrary, Asian markets have been on a downtrend since early December under the pressure of the previous losses in spot styrene prices and a year-end lull in the region.