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General purpose polystyrene pre-buying in Europe dampens buying interest in January

London — Pre-buying of general purpose polystyrene in the European market has dampened buying interest in January, according to sources this week.

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The GPPS spot price was assessed at Eur1,365/mt ($1,630.50/mt) FD NWE Wednesday, unchanged on the week. The GPPS net contract price was assessed at Eur1,450/mt FD NWE Wednesday, up Eur10.

Back in December, buyers had expected a large hike in the January styrnee contract price, which led them to pre-buy product to shield themselves against volatility in feedstocks.

"[Most converters] had covered their needs with pre-buying in December and this partly explains the quiet demand we are seeing now," a trader said.

Sources at the time in December said the styrene contract price could increase by three digits. The styrene settlement was below expectations, with the January contract settling at Eur1,265/mt, a modest Eur10 increase.

Nevertheless, sellers were heard raising their nominations by Eur15-Eur35/mt in a bid to increase margins.

A second buyer source said that turnarounds in the styrene market in February and March could lead to sharp monthly increases for the rest of the first quarter. As a result, he remained cautious about the outlook fo GPPS January prices.

Sentiment in the Asian market was bearish this week due to lackluster demand. The CFR China GPPS price was assessed at $1,435/mt, down $5 on the week.

--Yuriko Kato,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,