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Polystyrene
Polystyrene Prices | Current and Forecast
Polystyrene
Polystyrene
Polystyrene
(C8H8)n

About Polystyrene. Polystyrene (a.k.a. PS, Thermocol), a thermoplastic polymer with a high molecular weight, is manufactured from the styrene monomer. This material, commonly referred to as PS, exhibits characteristics of hardness, rigidity, and exceptional transparency, accompanied by commendable chemical resistance. Due to its versatility, polystyrene finds extensive application and ranks among the most widely produced polymers globally. The prevailing form of commercialized polystyrene is known as General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS), though it is also available as Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) and High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS). Scrap polystyrene also has its value on the market. Additionally, the polymer lends itself to easy processing through techniques such as injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming.

The styrene can be polymerized to Polystyrene by anionic, cationic, free-radical, and Ziegler-Natta mechanisms, however most industrial production of Polystyrene is based on free-radical polymerization due to simpler process configuration (less/no requirements in terms of monomer purification and initiator residues removal). In fact, while styrene itself can form polymerization-initiating radicals, radical-forming initiators do not necessarily have to be used for styrene polymerization.

In addition to the different reaction mechanisms, polystyrene production can also differ according to the technological route employed: solution, suspension or mass (bulk) polymerization. The solution route is favored when polymers with low residual monomer content and high purity are desired. The suspension route, on the other hand, facilitates the creation of polymers with varying molecular weights, allowing for the production of specialized crystal and high-impact grades of PS. Lastly, bulk polymerization offers advantages such as the clarity and outstanding color of the resulting resins, being the preferred method for most industrial units.

Polystyrene Handling. The storage and transportation of Polystyrene does not pose problems, as there are no specific regulatory issues regarding its transport. This polymer can be transported in paper or polyethylene bags, in cardboard containers, in silo vehicles, or in containers. In the case of Expandable Polystyrene (EPS), the storage should be made in a well-ventilated place, since pentane can naturally evolve from EPS as a gas into the atmosphere and is flammable at low concentrations (1.3% volume in air).

Polystyrene Production. Polystyrene production consists in the polymerization of styrene, in such a way that different manufacturing routes are related to different sources of such raw material. In this context, Polystyrene production routes can be based on styrene derived from ethylbenzene, toluene and methanol, benzene and ethylene. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of Polystyrene are listed below.

  • Styrene (suspension polymerization),
  • Styrene (bulk polymerisation),
  • Styrene (solution polymerization)

Polystyrene Uses.The uses and applications of Polystyrene may vary according to its specification. The main forms of Polystyrene are General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS); High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS); Expandable Polystyrene (EPS), in the forms of molded foam; expanded beads; and resins.

There is competition from other plastics and materials. For instance, in the realm of food packaging, certain manufacturers have transitioned to options like paper. In the consumer electronics sector, alternative plastics like acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) have supplanted a portion of the usage of polystyrene (PS).

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Data Type: chem-pricing
Prices

Polystyrene Prices | Current and Forecast

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Monitor monthly Polystyrene price assessments covering 4 locations: United States, Europe, China and Northeast Asia. Also check Polystyrene price history since 2007 and forecasts.

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Data Legend. The chart above shows Polystyrene price assessments in USA Dollar per metric ton (USD/mt) in 4 locations, as follows:

  • Polystyrene (GPPS), US (United States): Polystyrene (general purpose), export transaction price, fob, United States
  • Polystyrene (EPS), US (United States): Polystyrene (expandable), import transaction price, cif, United States
  • Polystyrene (Scrap), EUR (Europe): Polystyrene (scrap), export transaction price, fob, France
  • Polystyrene (GPPS), EUR (Europe): Polystyrene (general purpose), domestic spot price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • Polystyrene (HIPS), EUR (Europe): Polystyrene (high impact), domestic spot price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • Polystyrene (EPS), EUR (Europe): Polystyrene (expandable), domestic spot price, ddp, Northwest Europe
  • Polystyrene (GPPS), CN (China): Polystyrene (general purpose), domestic spot price, exw, China
  • Polystyrene (EPS), CN (China): Polystyrene (expandable), domestic spot price, exw, China
  • Polystyrene (Scrap), NEA (Northeast Asia): Polystyrene (scrap), export transaction price, fob, Japan

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Polystyrene Price Outlook. The price of Polystyrene (GPPS, United States) increased during April 2019 to 1,370 USD per metric ton, which represents a slight rise of 2% compared to the previous month’s value. On a year-over-year basis, the prices of Polystyrene (GPPS, United States) decreased significantly by 21%. Meanwhile, the average price of Polystyrene (GPPS, China) amounted to 1,220 USD per metric ton, from 1,450 USD per metric ton one year earlier. On a month-over-month basis, the price of Polystyrene (GPPS, China) is 2% lower than the price one month before.

The price of Polystyrene (EPS, China) rose slightly throughout April 2019, reaching 1,200 USD per metric ton.  The price is 0.8% higher than the average price in the previous month and 21% lower than the average price one year before. In contrast, the prices of Polystyrene (GPPS, Europe) increased during April 2019, reaching 1,480 USD per metric ton, which means a rise of 6% from the previous month’s price and a decline of 16% from the previous year’s price. 

The prices of Polystyrene (HIPS, Europe) experienced a significant rise of 110 USD per metric ton from the prior month's price, to 1,560 USD per metric ton. Such price movement meant a rise of 8% on a monthly basis and a decrease of 18% on a yearly basis. On the other hand, in April 2019, the price of Polystyrene (EPS, Europe) witnessed a rise of 100 USD per metric ton when compared against the previous month's price, to 1,520 USD per metric ton. The April 2019 price is 28% lower than the price one year before. 

About Polystyrene. Polystyrene (a.k.a. PS, Thermocol), a thermoplastic polymer with a high molecular weight, is manufactured from the styrene monomer. This material, commonly referred to as PS, exhibits characteristics of hardness, rigidity, and exceptional transparency, accompanied by commendable chemical resistance. Due to its versatility, polystyrene finds extensive application and ranks among the most widely produced polymers globally. The prevailing form of commercialized polystyrene is known as General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS), though it is also available as Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) and High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS). Scrap polystyrene also has its value on the market. Additionally, the polymer lends itself to easy processing through techniques such as injection molding, extrusion, and thermoforming.

The styrene can be polymerized to Polystyrene by anionic, cationic, free-radical, and Ziegler-Natta mechanisms, however most industrial production of Polystyrene is based on free-radical polymerization due to simpler process configuration (less/no requirements in terms of monomer purification and initiator residues removal). In fact, while styrene itself can form polymerization-initiating radicals, radical-forming initiators do not necessarily have to be used for styrene polymerization.

In addition to the different reaction mechanisms, polystyrene production can also differ according to the technological route employed: solution, suspension or mass (bulk) polymerization. The solution route is favored when polymers with low residual monomer content and high purity are desired. The suspension route, on the other hand, facilitates the creation of polymers with varying molecular weights, allowing for the production of specialized crystal and high-impact grades of PS. Lastly, bulk polymerization offers advantages such as the clarity and outstanding color of the resulting resins, being the preferred method for most industrial units.

Polystyrene Handling. The storage and transportation of Polystyrene does not pose problems, as there are no specific regulatory issues regarding its transport. This polymer can be transported in paper or polyethylene bags, in cardboard containers, in silo vehicles, or in containers. In the case of Expandable Polystyrene (EPS), the storage should be made in a well-ventilated place, since pentane can naturally evolve from EPS as a gas into the atmosphere and is flammable at low concentrations (1.3% volume in air).

Polystyrene Production. Polystyrene production consists in the polymerization of styrene, in such a way that different manufacturing routes are related to different sources of such raw material. In this context, Polystyrene production routes can be based on styrene derived from ethylbenzene, toluene and methanol, benzene and ethylene. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of Polystyrene are listed below.

  • Styrene (suspension polymerization),
  • Styrene (bulk polymerisation),
  • Styrene (solution polymerization)

Polystyrene Uses.The uses and applications of Polystyrene may vary according to its specification. The main forms of Polystyrene are General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS); High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS); Expandable Polystyrene (EPS), in the forms of molded foam; expanded beads; and resins.

There is competition from other plastics and materials. For instance, in the realm of food packaging, certain manufacturers have transitioned to options like paper. In the consumer electronics sector, alternative plastics like acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and polycarbonate (PC) have supplanted a portion of the usage of polystyrene (PS).

Intratec Methodology. Intratec Primary Commodity Prices are produced from a data-driven, mathematical approach, which starts with the extraction of data from various primary sources, including official trade records, statistics bureaus, governmental and international agencies. Such large volume of data is validated through advanced data processing techniques, and treated by means of statistical analysis for outliers removal. When faced with input gaps, data scientists and engineers employ mathematical models or machine learning techniques to estimate prices and ensure the completeness of the price assessments presented. (learn more ).

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