09 January 2009 05:48 [Source: ICIS news]
By Anu Agarwal
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Most methyl methacrylate (MMA) producers in Asia were reducing operating rates further in the face of continued dismal demand, said MMA makers and buyers on Friday.
The company had shut one 50,000 tonne/year MMA plant in mid-December. Its third MMA line with capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year on the same site was still operating normally.
Formosa Plastics, meanwhile, will continue to keep its 98,000 tonne/year MMA plant in Mailiao, Taiwan shut until 25 February due to bad demand, said a company source.
The plant, which had just been restarted early this week after it was shut in November last year, will be off line again on 15 January, he said. The plant was shut in November amid a shortage of feedstock hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and had originally been scheduled to restart on 14 December.
Another Taiwanese producer - Kaohsiung Monomer Co, plans to run its 95,000 tonne/year MMA plant at around 60% this month given weak demand and limited feedstock HCN supply, said a company source.
Kaohsiung Monomer operated the plant at around 40% of capacity in December.
Sumitomo Chemical Singapore was only operating one of its three MMA lines with a capacity of 53,000 tonnes/year at around 80%, said a source at the company.
The company shut its 90,000 tonne/year MMA No 3 line in mid-December as it advanced the turnaround dates from February due to poor demand. Dates for its restart had not yet been decided.
Sumitomo’s MMA line 2, with an 80,000 tonne/year capacity, has been down since April 2008 due to technical problems.
Price declines in MMA have been gradual and cushioned somewhat when compared to other chemicals due to the large production cuts implemented by the producers and a shortage of feedstock HCN from upstream acrylonitrile producers, said regional buyers and sellers.
MMA is used to produce polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), transparent acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), acrylic sheets and coating emulsions. Most of these applications are facing a crunch time amid a huge slowdown in automotive, electronics and construction sectors.
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