Global trade in both non-expandable (general purpose) polystyrene and expandable polystyrene contracted by 3% in 2013, noting declines also in 2012. ITP measured 3.5 million tons of PSN trade and 2.1 million tons of PSX. Styrene monomer trade grew 7%, to 10.9 million tons. Trends in global trade volume for widely traded products are an indicator of global demand. Major regional trends reflected in the decline in both PSN and PSX global trade volume in 2013 included: lower intra-regional trade in Western Europe and lower imports into Eastern Europe, the world’s largest regional import market. The decline in imports into Eastern Europe negatively impacted exports from Western Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Major regional trends evident in styrene included: a strong expansion in Asia-Pacific intra-regional trade; much higher exports from North America to Asia-Pacific; a 17% drop in exports from the Middle East, mainly on lower volumes to Asia-Pacific but also declines to Western and Eastern Europe.
(From ITP’s Polystyrene and Styrene World Trade Reviews of 2013).