Europe Q2 MMA contract rises €140/tonne

23 April 2010 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--The European methyl methacrylate (MMA) second-quarter contract has moved up by an average of €140/tonne ($189/tonne) because of higher feedstocks costs, tighter supply and improved demand, market sources said on Friday.

A major producer confirmed that it had agreed contracts at increases of €130-150/tonne, adding that for early settlements some contracts had increased by €130/tonne, but that it was now seeing most quarterly contracts move up by €140-150/tonne.

“There were lots of early settlements, some at €130/tonne... as time goes on and other issues are motoring ahead, prices have increased €140-150/tonne,” the producer said. “We are seeing strong demand from every sector.”

On the buying side, a major consumer for the sheeting sector said that it had closed most of its second-quarter contracts at an increase.

“We have closed most contracts from the first to second quarter at an increase of €130/tonne, some more and some less,” she said.

The buyer described the supply situation in Europe as mixed: “Some [suppliers] are being very cautious and for some product is free flowing. I don’t have any major concerns.”

According to data from global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing, the pre-discounted second-quarter MMA contract settled at €1,480-1,535/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

Another buyer confirmed that its second-quarter contract increased by €130/tonne. “Of course they [the producers] started with plus €150/tonne but it was a matter of mutual trust. Downstream it’s difficult to push through the higher cost. The producers are suffering but €130/tonne is fair for everybody,” he said.

The buyer agreed with the majority of market sources that Europe was balanced to tight.

Meanwhile, the value of spot MMA continued to firm, supported by strong demand and higher prices in Asia.

The weak euro versus the US dollar has kept competitively priced MMA imports out of the European arena.

Indeed, spot MMA prices have been firming on almost a daily basis, according to market sources.

One European producer said that it had seen spot prices firm by €5-10/tonne on a weekly basis, while another supplier to the spot market said that it had seen MMA traded as high as €1,700/tonne FD NWE.

However, the trader said that this number was supported by acrylate buyers "desperate for material" and willing to pay a higher price for their MMA.

“Customers buying other acrylates may have a tendency to pay more for their MMA,” said the distributor. “Butyl acetate has gone through the roof.”

Another re-seller quoted spot MMA at the high end of €1,400/tonne FD NWE. “Availability is there but it could shrink... we are seeing more interest, it’s not just people talking acrylate but they are also talking about MMA.”

A major application of MMA is in surface coatings and impregnation resins to give colour fastness and weather-resistance properties to latex paints, lacquer resins and stoving enamels. Over 80% of MMA consumption is accounted for in the construction and automotive industries and by original equipment manufacture.

Butyl acetate is an organic compound commonly used as a solvent in the production of lacquers and other products.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on MMA visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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