06 January 2006 20:21 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--January contract prices have edged down on the back of lower feedstock costs, US phthalic anhydride (PA) buyers and sellers said on Friday.
Ortho-xylene (OX), the primary PA feedstock, prices fell in December contract business, promoting the January decrease in PA contract spreads. December PA contracts were assessed in respective ranges of 51-56 cents/pound ($1,124.04-1,234.24/tonne) free on board (FOB) for molten product and 52-58 cents (Euro.43-.48)/pound delivered for flaked material. Sources said a 1.5 cent/pound decrease was applied in January contracts due to the commensurate fall in OX prices. January PA bands for molten FOB and flaked delivered were respectively assessed at 49.5-54.5 cents/pound and 50.5-56.5 cents/pound.
Large buyers on Friday confirmed the lower prices were rapidly integrated into January price levels, with small-to-medium purchasing groups also experiencing portions of the edge-back.
Imported PA, mostly flaked material, was said to have adjusted to the price dip in order to continue to compete with domestic product. Sources said December import prices were mostly in the mid-40s cents/pound, clustering between 45 and 46 cents/pound. Buyers of imported PA said importers quickly moved down about a penny to pace the domestics and the average price for January was mostly at 44 cents/pound delivered.
Phthalic anhydride is a plasticiser widely used in applications including automobile interiors and exteriors, flexible hose products, and other vinyls requiring flex attributes. A foremost end-use area of PA is di-octyl phthalate (DOP), often used in toys and infant care devices requiring tactile qualities.
PA producers include Koppers of Illinois and BASF.
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