US May acrylates contracts rise 5 cents/lb on upstream pressure

25 May 2011 23:41  [Source: ICIS news]

A US nickelHOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices for May rose by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €78/tonne) on snug supply and upstream pressure from feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP), sources said on Wednesday.

The increase took glacial acrylic acid (GAA) to a range of $1.50-1.55/tonne, as assessed by ICIS. May acrylates contract prices had been proposed up by 5-8 cents/lb.

Individual increases for butyl acrylate (butyl-A) were heard as low as 3 cents/lb and as high as 8 cents/lb,  but posted gains of 5 cents/lb reflected market consensus.

“Different suppliers, different attitudes”, said one buyer, who took a larger butyl-A increase from one source than from another. “One would negotiate a little, the other would not."

Supply was still snug, some sources said, while others said supply was ample, partly because large volumes of GAA are available from Asia.

Most sources said the market would be balanced within the next few months.

Besides additional Asian material, weaker-than-expected demand was another reason cited for longer supply. “I don’t see demand as much different than last year,” another buyer said.

Several sources noted that downstream demand had weakened because of a late start in the US spring coatings season. Also, severe supply constraints on methyl methacrylate (MMA) have diminished demand for butyl-A and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA), buyers and sellers said.

France-based Arkema announced its plan to raise June acrylates contract prices by 6 cents/lb, citing sharp increases in CGP costs, but neither US-based Dow Chemical nor Germany-based BASF commented on their June pricing plans.

CGP for May settled at a record high for the second consecutive month, reaching 95.50 cents/lb after rising by 9.5 cents/lb from April. April CGP increased by 15 cents/lb from March. Several sources said propylene values were likely to weaken for June, following declines in crude and gasoline prices.

The delay in other June increase initiatives suggested to some that a collective push for acrylates contract price gains for 1 June might not develop.

($1 = €0.71)

For more on acrylates, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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