Thai MMA may reduce operating rates at Map Ta Phut unit in near term

14 October 2011 10:53  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Thai MMA is considering lowering the operating rates at its two 90,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) lines at Map Ta Phut in the near future, a company source said on Friday.

The producer is considering reducing its production rates because of fears of soft demand for the material in the country as a result of massive floods, the source added.

“However, this [has] yet to be finalised,” the source said.

The floods, which are considered to be Thailand’s worst in 50 years, have affected 60 of the country’s 77 provinces over past two months, according to media reports and market sources.

However, MMA production in the country remains unaffected as the main location for MMA plants at Map Ta Phut in Rayong province is safe on the eastern coast of Thailand the company source said.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s PTT Asahi Chemical has not started commercial operation at its 70,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant at the same site as the company is in the final stages of commissioning the unit, a company source said.

Some of the major downstream end-user industries, such as cast sheet and emulsion makers, are also largely unaffected as these plants are situated away from the flooded regions, market players said.

However, the delivery of finished products may be affected, the players added.

In addition, the local demand for MMA from the downstream emulsion sector may be hit by the floods, a separate MMA producer said.

“Typically, this is the peak season for MMA [because of] the increase in the construction segment during the dry season, the producer said.

“However, the flood may cause construction works to be delayed” the producer added.

The automotive industry is an important sector for MMA production, where downstream MMA products like polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) are used in applications, such as tail lights and speedometers, MMA and PMMA producers said.

“Business in some household application sectors have already been affected,’ a PMMA producer said.

For more on methyl methacrylate, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Junie Lin

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