The recent decrease in crude oil prices to the lowest levels since August 2016 is already affecting prices for aromatic petrochemicals such as benzene, as well as the plastics derived from them.

Benzene, which sold at $2.91 per gallon at the beginning of April, sold for $2.41 last Friday on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Benzene’s downward price movement is impacting styrene and prime polystyrene pricing.

Prime polystyrene’s downward trajectory was nearly as dramatic as benzene’s decline on a percentage basis. Prime HIPS, for example, dropped from around $1.01 per pound in early April to 87 cents per pound last Friday.

This price erosion in the prime polystyrene market, depending on how dramatic and sustained, could impact demand for recycled polystyrene in some markets.

For a free trial to PCW’s Weekly Recycled Plastics Report, Weekly PVC & Pipe Report or Daily Report on prime resins, monomers and NGLs visit the PetroChem Wire website at You can also contact Cindy Bryan at [email protected] or (713) 385-1407.


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