US April MMA prices move higher by 5 cents/lb on high end

13 April 2012 21:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US April methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices were assessed higher on Friday, tracking strong demand and higher feedstock costs.

April prices were assessed by ICIS at $1.20–1.34/lb ($2,646–2,954/tonne, €2,011–2,245/tonne) FD railcar (free delivered via railcar).

The April contracts gained 5 cents/lb on the high end from March’s assessment of $1.20–1.29/lb FD railcar.

Most sources cited $1.27/lb as the average price, given varied March price-increase nominations from each of the three major US producers.

After February barge acetone settled higher by 20 cents/lb, each of the three major US MMA producers sought to make it up in a two-month period.

As a result, Dow Chemical and Evonik each separately sought to raise prices in March and April by a combined 18 cents/lb, while Lucite sought to raise prices by 21 cents/lb.

Producers and buyers mostly agreed that the nominations had been pushed through during the two-month period, citing improved demand.

Several coatings buyers said their sales and orders in March were 5–10% higher than expected, and that April is also looking encouraging.

Some are attributing the surge to warmer weather and the release of pent-up demand from MMA supply tightness in previous summers.

However, other market players feel the warm weather is only starting the coatings season earlier than normal, and will end it earlier as well.

As a result, most buyers expressed continued caution regarding demand expectations for the second and third quarters.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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