US epoxy resins outlook depends on economic recovery - buyers

02 November 2010 20:56  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US liquid epoxy resins (LER) market could revisit the tight supply scenario of 2010 if the overall economy recovers at a healthy pace, buyers said on Tuesday.

Sources said LER pricing should be flatter in 2011, but the murky economic outlook made forecasting difficult.

 “If we see a nice recovery, things could become very tight again,” a large LER buyer said. “We’ll know much better [in the second quarter of 2011] what happens with the market.”

US LER prices for mid-volume customers were at $1.52-1.60/lb DEL ($3,351-3,527/tonne, €2,413-2,539/tonne, delivered) as assessed by ICIS during the week ended 1 November, up 49% on average from $1.02-1.08/lb DEL at the beginning of the year.

Tight feedstock supply and unexpectedly strong demand propelled epoxy prices higher in 2010.

Dow Chemical, in its third-quarter earnings report on 28 October, revealed double-digit year-over-year pricing gains in all geographies of its industrial coatings segment, citing “tight epoxy fundamentals, particularly in epoxy intermediates".

The company’s epoxy segment had volume growth of more than 30%, especially for epichlorohydrin (ECH), an intermediate for epoxy resins manufacturing.

Industry outages created tight supply in the allylics chain, including ECH, during the third quarter, Dow said.

This week, LER market participants said US ECH prices were softening while bisphenol-A (BPA) prices were higher on healthy demand, including exports to Asia.

($1 = €0.72)

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