US February MMA contract heads towards rollover

13 February 2012 17:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US February contracts for methyl methacrylate (MMA) are expected to settle at a rollover, sources said on Monday.

Although feedstock costs have surged in the upstream benzene and propylene markets, feedstock acetone prices have been mostly stable.

The January barge acetone contract settled slightly higher, at 43.0 cents/lb ($948/tonne, €720/tonne) DEL (delivered) barge, up by 1.5 cents/lb from the previous month.

With feedstock costs stable, and various markets reporting slightly higher or lower demand for MMA, sources said there was not much momentum for price increase nominations.

However, that could change in March. Dow Chemical has announced a price increase nomination of 8 cents/lb, effective on 1 March, and buyers said they expect other major producers will follow.

“There’s going to be a lot of resistance to higher MMA prices,” a buyer said. “How much is too early to tell, but there’s not enough new demand to support it.”

Another buyer disagreed, saying it is to be expected that benzene and propylene increases will be passed down through acetone.

US January MMA contract prices were assessed by ICIS at $1.10–1.20/lb FD (free delivered) railcar.

Major US MMA producers include Dow, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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