Europe MMA Q4 contracts settle down €80–130/tonne

21 October 2011 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European methyl methacrylate (MMA) fourth-quarter contracts decreased by €80–130/tonne ($110–178/tonne), because of reduced demand and ample availability, buyers and sellers said on Friday.

The freely negotiated range has been assessed at €1,910–2,000/tonne, on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis.

Some contracts were agreed at minus €75/tonne and minus €120/tonne, but the majority settled with decreases of €80–100/tonne on the previous quarter.

Absolute values have been quoted from the mid-€1,800s/tonne and up to €2,000/tonne FD NWE.

“We have concluded the majority of our contracts at decreases of €80–90/tonne,” a major producer said. “A few have settled at decreases of more than €100/tonne.”

A large buyer said: “We have settled our contracts somewhere in the range of €100–150/tonne below third-quarter values.”

MMA contract values in Europe had been increasing since the second quarter of 2009, and reached historical highs in the third quarter of 2011.

Monthly contracts for October are valued at €1,180–2,000/tonne FD NWE. Prices decreased by around €50/tonne from September.

The MMA spot price has dropped by around 30% since May on improved supply and lower demand. The spot range is currently €1,800–1,890/tonne FD NWE.

Offers below €1,800/tonne FD NWE are being heard for a few hundred-tonne parcels from Asia.

Availability has improved significantly since the second quarter. “It’s marvellous,” another buyer said. “There’s now enough MMA on the market and at good prices.”

Demand for the fourth quarter is now a little softer than expectations were a month ago. Looking ahead to 2012, forecasts are cautious because of global economic uncertainty, but there is optimism that demand will improve during spring when consumption typically picks up.

A third buyer added: “At the moment, I see no growth for 2012 because of the economic situation.

“There may be an upswing in March or April, but I’d be highly surprised if that happens. The downwards risk is quite high.”

MMA is an organic compound. This colourless liquid is a monomer produced on a large scale for the production of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).

($1 = €0.73)

For more on MMA visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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