30 November 2010 21:59 [Source: ICIS news]
“I think prices would drop if bisphenol-A (BPA) weren’t going up,” a source said. “Imports are relatively high - not terribly competitive - which allows domestic producers to keep prices up.”
Feedstock BPA prices have ticked up in the fourth quarter, but December prices in the upper 90s cents/lb were still below historical highs of around 110 cents/lb reached in June 2010, according to LER market participants.
The retreat in feedstocks BPA and epichlorohydrin (ECH) since mid-year has not been matched by LER prices.
Bulk LER prices for mid-volume end users were $1.52-1.60/lb ($3,351-3,527/tonne, €2,547-2,681/tonne)
Prices have fallen only slightly compared with $1.54-1.62/lb
Agreements for flat January pricing were already heard from some buyers, and the outlook for later in the 2011 first quarter was mixed.
Some buyers predicted LER supply could tighten toward the end of the first quarter when demand picks up, while others expected softening feedstock prices to come into play.
Companies in the key downstream coatings sector are forecasting conservative North American demand growth rates in the mid-single digits next year, a large-volume LER buyer said.
But barring any supply disruptions like the ones seen in the first half of 2010, LER price fluctuations should be manageable, the source added.
($1 = €0.76)
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