17 May 2011 23:43 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US maleic anhydride (MA) contracts were leaning toward an increase for May given tight supply and rising feedstock costs, market sources said on Tuesday.
Buyers and sellers confirmed the increase of 4 cents/lb ($88/tonne, €62/tonne) appeared to be holding this week.
MA producers sought the price hike because of tight supply and rising feedstock butane costs.
April MA contracts were at 83.20–89.20 cents/lb FOB (free on board) USG (US Gulf) for molten material, as assessed by ICIS.
Participants viewed MA supply as tight, given that two producers are on scheduled maintenance turnarounds this month.
One turnaround, which began on 7 May, is expected to end on 19 May.
The other MA producer said its May turnaround is set to last two weeks, and the plant should restart by the end of the month.
Some MA participants view demand as healthy, citing steady monthly sales.
However, demand in the downstream unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) sector was expected to soften in the short term, as preparation for the marine recreational season is now waning and the domestic economy remains sluggish.
MA is an intermediate chemical used primarily in UPR, which can be found in fibreglass.
US MA producers include Flint Hills Resources, Huntsman, Ashland and LANXESS.
($1 = €0.70)
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