InterviewAFPM ’12: Asia MMA may extend gains on tight supply – MRC

01 April 2012 19:15  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--Methyl methacrylate (MMA) prices in Asia may continue their strong uptrend through the third quarter amid a very tight market, with a number of regional plants due a heavy turnaround schedule since March, an official of Japan’s Mitsubishi Rayon Co (MRC) said.

MRC, the world’s biggest MMA producer, has announced a $250/tonne (€188/tonne) increase in April prices, partly because of high cost of feedstock naphtha.

The shutdowns in the second quarter will result in very low inventory in the third quarter, and will likely continue to push prices higher, Takashi Miyaki, MRC executive officer and general manager for specialty resins & plastics division, told ICIS, on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

Facilities that recently had turnarounds include Asahi Kasei’s 100,000 tonne/year MMA plant in Kawasaki, Japan; Mitsubishi Rayon’s 50,000 tonne/year No 2 line in Otake, also in Japan; and Formosa Plastics Corp’s acetone cyanohydrin-based 98,000 tonne/year MMA unit in Mailiao, Taiwan.

In South Korea, Daesan MMA’s 90,000 tonne/year plant is expected to be down from end-March, while in China, Huizhou MMA is due to conduct a two-week turnaround at its 90,000 tonne/year unit at Guangdong in May.

MMA prices were assessed at $2,150-2,250/tonne CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia in the week ended 30 March, according to ICIS.

Price pressures will likely ease in the fourth quarter, but MMA values will continue to be well supported by high naphtha costs despite the soft demand, Miyaki said.

Asian naphtha prices in Asia were at $1,069-1,071/tonne at the close of trade on 30 March, after hitting a 46-month high early this month, according to ICIS.

Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC continues through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359

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