Europe July acrylic acid, esters fall on feedstocks, better availability

20 July 2011 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European acrylic acid and acrylate esters freely-negotiated contract prices for July have been assessed down by €50-85/tonne, depending on grade, on the back of lower feedstock costs and an increasingly balanced market, sources said on Wednesday.

July contracts were assessed at €2,125-2,205/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe) for methyl acrylate (methyl-A); €2,175-2,320/tonne for ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A); €2,155–2,350/tonne for butyl acrylate (butyl-A), and €2,390–2,550/tonne for 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA).

July acrylic acid contracts were agreed at €2,120-2,270/tonne FD NWE, a reduction of €50-75/tonne ($70-106/tonne) from the previous month.

Several buyers said they had achieved reductions of €75/tonne in line with the July propylene settlement. One consumer said that while it had agreed to a smaller decrease, it was coming from a lower starting point in June.

One major producer said it had settled July volumes at a reduction of €50/tonne across all grades, and said that the upswing seen in Asian pricing had helped limit the downward movement this month.

“Purchasers can see a change, and also realise that Asian producers have stopped exporting product to Europe,” the producer said.

Nevertheless, there is some concern from other suppliers regarding some imported volumes being offered aggressively in the market.

Several sellers singled out ethyl-A in particular, and one producer said that it had also been forced to drop butyl-A prices by more than the propylene reduction in order to remain competitive.

Indeed, following months of restricted availability, the second half of July has been remarkably dynamic in terms of spot activity. With material from Asia and elsewhere being offered at lower prices, European sellers have had to follow suit.

Some downward movement on pricing had been expected this month, following two consecutive months of feedstock decreases as well as improving availability.

European acrylates values have largely been dictated by tight supply as opposed to feedstock developments over the last two years, as strong demand from the coatings, adhesives and superabsorbent polymers sectors, as well as sporadic production levels, kept prices at a premium.

Players all agreed that August would be slow in terms of buyer activity, but that this was expected in light of the summer holiday period. One supplier commented that August 2010 had been unusually active, but added that this had been due to the exceptional market circumstances of last year.

Another seller said: “August is traditionally slow due to the holiday season. Apart from a strong price decrease for propylene, we expect that prices will roll over.”

($1 = €0.71)

For more on acrylic acid and acrylate esters visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Truong Mellor
+44 208 652 3214

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