US January barge acetone fully settles at 4% increase

03 February 2012 18:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US January barge acetone contract reached a full settlement, moving higher by 4%, sources confirmed on Friday.

Several producers argued that the settlement price is unfair.

“That number is well below where it should have been,” a producer said.

The final settlement was done at 43 cents/lb ($948/tonne, €720/tonne) DEL barges (delivered via barges), matching the initial settlement.

December’s settlement was reached at 41.5 cents/lb DEL barges.

Another producer said it does not agree with the settlement price at all and expects February will see a higher settlement.

Sellers cited higher feedstock costs for refinery-grade propylene (RGP) and lower values for acetone co-product phenol as reasons for their displeasure with the January settlement.

Buyers argued that the December settlement should have been lower, and that the January price needed to reflect that, but expected to see February acetone prices increase.

“I’m sure they will be pushing for some recalibration in February,” a buyer said. “To be honest, this type of volatility doesn’t help anybody. Everybody loses.”

Most of the acetone sold in the barge market goes into the production of methyl methacrylate (MMA). Several MMA producers have said they expect contract prices to increase in February or March on higher acetone.

The US barge acetone contract is negotiated between three of the largest producers -- Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol and Shell Chemical -- and the three largest buyers -- Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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