US epoxy producers propose 5, 10 cent/lb April hikes

08 March 2011 22:26  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Two US epoxy resin producers have targeted April price increases of 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €79/tonne) and 10 cents/lb, attributing the initiatives to a sustained rise in the price of key raw materials, sources said on Tuesday.

A third major producer has not yet announced any April initiatives, but market participants expected the producer to follow the trend.

Domestic liquid epoxy resin (LER) producers have implemented a majority of price increases totalling 17 cents/lb for the first quarter, sources said.

Imported product pricing has increased by at least 17 cents/lb.

“It seems as though there is a fairly dramatic firming of prices,” a distributor said. “I’m getting the sense that product is a little snug.”

A producer agreed that epoxy resin supply was relatively tight, but added that customers were generally getting what they need.

The producer said some business opportunities in Asia and South America had been turned down because of the tight supply.

A lack of competitively priced imports was allowing US domestic prices to rise, sources said. Quotes for April delivery were heard at 177-185 cents/lb DEL (delivered).

“I believe the Asia market is still quite strong, and the European market has gone up in dollar terms because of the euro, so I see imports declining,” an import broker said.

Buyers and distributors said the market was likely to remain tight through the second quarter.

“I think prices can go nowhere but up,” a distributor said. “The problem is that other industries using [feedstocks] bisphenol-A [BPA] and epichlorohydrin [ECH] have alternative applications that pay more than epoxy.”

Bulk LER prices for spot customers were heard at $1.75-1.80/lb DEL.

Major US LER producers include Dow Chemical, Momentive Specialty Chemicals and Huntsman.

($1 = €0.72)

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: David Barry
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