Europe MMA spot prices increase on global supply issues

29 April 2010 17:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON(ICIS news)--Prices of European spot methyl methacrylate (MMA) have increased amid concerns about availability following news that Evonik would be extending the planned shutdown at its facility in Worms, Germany, market sources said on Thursday.

“Availability is very tight. Lucite is on allocation in the US, and sooner or later Lucite will start shipping there. I heard that it will be June before Evonik start [sic] up,” said a normally active distributor, adding that it had no product available for the market.

Another distributor said that it had sold some spot material this week at €1,500/tonne ($1,974/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

“I don’t see a lot of spot [MMA] in the market, but we have strong demand. I think prices will continue to move up because of Evonik,” said the second distributor.  

In a statement released on 27 April, Evonik said that technical problems in a sulphuric acid plant occurred during a scheduled plant shutdown, which has forced it to extend the shutdown by about four weeks.

The statement added that the plants will run at substantially reduced rates, which will have a clear impact on the availability of Evonik’s MMA and as well as various downstream PMMA products.

Because of Evonik's shutdown and the lack of imports in recent months from Asia to Europe, which has been due to strong Asian demand and the weakness of the euro against the US dollar, there was a notable lack of spot MMA available in the European market.

“I wish I had volume to sell. Strange things are happening and a number of producers are setting monthly pricing. If I had product to sell, €1,500/tonne would be easily achievable. But if you asked for €1,600/tonne, you could get it,” said a distributor that normally supplies the European market with MMA from the US.

Responding to news of Evonik’s extended shutdown, a major MMA producer said that it, too, wished it had product to sell.

“The phone has been red hot. There is just not enough to go around and, on pricing, there is no ceiling. But you need to look at who you are and what you are,” said the producer.

The producer concluded by saying that even without the production issues and global tight supply, there was “still merit” in pushing for higher prices, because of rising feedstock costs, particularly acetone.

($1 = €0.76)

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


By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214



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