US acetic acid tightens higher on latest producer hike proposals

21 February 2012 22:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acetic acid tightened higher on the latest producer hike proposals, but drew a mixed reaction from buyers on Tuesday.

Buyers said spot acetic acid has moved up $25/tonne (€19/tonne) on the low end of the range and currently trades at $575$620/tonne. It closed a week ago at $550$620/tonne, according to ICIS.

One buyer said trading was steady, with no pressure yet to push prices higher. However, another buyer said producers were pushing to sell at $620/tonne and higher.

“I’m trying not to get there,” the buyer said.

Producers already have succeeded in obtaining 2 cents/lb ($44-50/tonne, €33-38/tonne) increases that took effect in January and February that were also tied to a hike in vinyl acetate monomer (VAM).

Then late last week, Celanese and Eastman issued similar proposals that would take effect either immediately (Celanese) or in mid-March (Eastman). Celanese’s hike was also linked with another 3-cent/lb global increase in VAM.

Celanese gave no reason for the increase, but Eastman’s statement said it was because of higher operating costs from increasing raw material prices and freights.

VAM feedstock US ethylene has been increasing this year, but acetic acid feedstocks have been stable, if not immovable, as in the case of US methanol.

Methanol spot prices have been seemingly chained to 112115 cents/gal for all of this year, with the latest transaction on Monday at 113.25 cents/gal, a trader said.

Warm winter weather has not helped sales of windshield washer fluid, a big user of methanol, nor has talk of more methanol plant capacity coming online in the US and Trinidad pushed prices up.

Also, NYMEX front-month natural gas futures have gone mostly down this year, closing at $2.626/MMBtu on Tuesday, up from a low of $2.48/MMBtu in mid-January.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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