A severe shortage of styrene and rising raw material prices are creating a difficult market environment for the UP resin industry in the US and Europe. Producers report they are struggling to keep on top of their feedstock costs and have no choice but to pass these on to customers. As result, all the major producers on both sides of the Atlantic have announced multiple price increases in the first quarter of 2017, leaving buyers trying to come to terms with extreme price hikes. In China, prices also shot up soon after the holiday season.
There is still little sign of let-up as the end of the first quarter draws near. Even though benzene prices are softening, this is having no effect on styrene as plant outages in the US continue to keep material tight. At the same time, demand for UP resins is said to be strong with rumours that some suppliers are struggling to meet requirements.
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