US April barge acetone inches higher by 0.25 cents/lb

18 April 2012 23:13  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US initial barge acetone contract price moved slightly higher, tracking feedstock costs and tight supply, sources said on Friday.

A buyer and seller confirmed an initial settlement of 68.00 cents/lb ($1,499/tonne, €$1,139/tonne) DEL barges (delivered via barges).

This represents an increase of 0.25 cents/lb from March’s settlement of 67.75 cents/lb.

Several traders expressed surprise at the initial settlement, expecting that it would be higher based on feedstock refinery-grade propylene (RGP) costs.

However, RGP prices have fallen by 3.5 cents/lb from highs seen at the start of April on softer demand, as assessed by ICIS.

Acetone supply is tight, as most US producers are operating at reduced rates and Dow chemical has its 180,000 tonne/year Freeport acetone unit in Texas down for planned maintenance.

Demand for acetone from the key methyl methacrylate (MMA) market remains strong, as a healthy coatings season is spurring strong orders for material.

The US barge acetone contract is negotiated between three large 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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