17 January 2008 17:23 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Arkema will restart its Rho, Italy, methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant next week at the earliest, a week later than previously thought, adding tightness to the European market, a company source said on Thursday.
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“We are still having some technical issues,” the source said. “[The outage] will probably continue until next week, when exactly I cannot say.”
The source would not be drawn into disclosing further details of the outage, but said that the lost production was adding tightness of supply to what had been seen as a largely balanced market.
Market participants, however, were yet to see this tightness, with spot material in low demand.
The central focus of activity in the market was on first-quarter negotiations, players said, with the Arkema outage failing to disrupt pricing ideas.
“Arkema is not a major player on the open market,” said one buyer source. “When they appear it is on a spot basis. At the moment this really isn’t an issue.”
First-quarter MMA negotiations were under way, with two producers nominating increases of €50-75/tonne ($74-110/tonne) on the recent upturn of feedstock methanol and propylene pricing, along with surging energy costs.
Buyers, meanwhile, said that current supply/demand fundamentals were supportive of a rollover or even a decrease from the fourth-quarter contract values of €1,520-1,580/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
($1 = €0.68)
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