18 August 2010 23:59 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--European freely negotiated acrylic acid and acrylate ester contract prices for August were settled at a rollover, market sources said on Wednesday.
Flat prices came despite mid-August disruptions that led two sellers to declare force majeure. The declarations, however, could have stopped some buyers from negotiating decreases.
“Everything settled at a rollover,” said one seller, who added that buyers were again more focused on securing deliveries than haggling over price levels.
August freely negotiated acrylic acid contracts were assessed at €1,825-1,950/tonne ($2,340-2,500/tonne ) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), according to ICIS data.
Market sources also said that contracts for butyl acrylate (butyl-A) were settled at €1,900-2,000/tonne; €1,850-2,000/tonne for ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A); €1,820-1,950/tonne for methyl acrylate (methyl-A); and €2,080-2,200/tonne for 2-ethyl hexyl acrylate (2-EHA).
Some producers reported higher price levels for certain molecules, and some buyers said they were able to secure prices below the published range. Additionally, there were market players who were still in talks and hopeful of decreases.
The published range, however, was reflective of the bulk of business.
The backdrop of the settlement was fresh production troubles. Arkema declared force majeure on 10 August on ethyl-A, following waste disposal issues at its Carling, France, plant, and extended it to butyl-A and methyl-A on 13 August. Additionally, on 11 August, BASF declared force majeure on 2-EHA
“It’s been unbelievable,” one seller said. “New things are happening every week.”
BASF has said its outage stemmed from an “unforeseen and unplanned technical incident” at its Ludwigshafen, Germany, plant, and has not said when it expects the issue to be resolved. The French producer did not say by how much it was restricting deliveries or when it expected production to come back online, but market sources said it could be as early as the middle of next week.
Most sources said that the outages had yet to impact the market – and butyl-A spot prices dropped €100-150/tonne this week to €2,100-2,200/tonne FD NWE. Additionally, some buyers said that if resolved quickly, the problems will not necessarily lead to a tight market, and higher prices, in September.
Others, however, were not as optimistic, and were bracing for a return to the tight market of the late spring and early summer – particularly since Dow had already said it would seek €250/tonne more for all its acrylates in September.
“Two weeks from now we have September,” one buyer said, adding: “And then, the game changes.”
($1 = €0.78)
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