12 May 2010 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--European acrylic acid and acrylate ester contract prices for May were settled with the €150-250/tonne ($190-316/tonne) increases producers sought, market sources said on Wednesday.
While several European producers recently finished maintenance works – both planned and unplanned – the market remained tight, which enabled sellers to get all of the €150-250/tonne hikes they wanted.
“There’s stronger demand in the high season,” one seller said. “People aren’t really negotiating.”
April freely negotiated acrylic acid contracts were assessed at €1,690-1,850/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing.
Both buy and sell sides confirmed that contracts for butyl acrylate (butyl-A) settled at €1,750-1,860/tonne FD NWE; methyl acrylate (methyl-A) came in at €1,700-1,850/tonne FD NWE; ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) settled at €1,740-1,880/tonne FD NWE; and 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate (2EHA) landed in the range of €1,920-2,000/tonne FD NWE.
Some sellers reported higher contract settlements, particularly for butyl-A and 2EHA. Likewise, some buyers said their contracts settled at prices that were slightly below the range. However, the prices above were said to represent the bulk of business.
Buyers were optimistic that supply tightness in Europe would ease, as Arkema lifted its force majeure declaration this week. The company’s said its 275,000 tonne/year plant at Carling, France, was shut down in early April due to unexpected technical problems. Hexion was also back to full production after a two-week turnaround.
“It’s at or close to the top,” one buyer said of prices. “Most of the sort of panic in the market isn’t there anymore.”
However, no European sellers said they had spot availability this week, and prices shot up yet again. While there was very little material changing hands, the majority of it was of Asian origin – and expensive.
“The difference between contract and spot is still amazingly big,” one reseller said. “If they need any more material, they have to pay the jackpot.”
Spot prices for butyl-A, methyl-A, ethyl-A and acrylic acid were assessed up by €150/tonne, according to ICIS pricing. The increase brought prices for butyl-A to €2,320-2,500/tonne FD NWE; for methyl-A and ethyl-A to €2,250-2,350/tonne FD NWE; and for acrylic acid to €2,000-2,050/tonne FD NWE. Prices for 2EHA, which was in particularly short supply, increased by €200/tonne to €2,400-2,550/tonne FD NWE.
Other European producers include BASF and Dow Chemical.
“Things are getting out of control,” one buyer said. “This is absolute nonsense”
($1 = €0.79)
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