Europe Q2 MMA contract prices increase on feedstock costs

27 April 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Second-quarter European methyl methacrylate (MMA) prices have risen from the previous quarter because of raw material costs and improved demand in a balanced-to-tight market, buyers and sellers said on Friday.

The range has been assessed at €1,850-1,890/tonne ($2,434-2,487/tonne) on a free delivered (FD) northwest Europe (NWE) basis. 

Feedstock prices have largely increased since the beginning of the year, with both propylene and acetone reaching record highs in April, by which point propylene contract prices had moved up by €300/tonne since January. The May propylene contract price, however, came down by €15/tonne to €1,230/tonne.

Further upstream, European methanol spot prices made large gains this week, increasing by €14-15/tonne to €319-322/tonne FOB Rotterdam. Prices are increasing on both physical shortages and speculation.

One producer said MMA second-quarter increases had largely been agreed at €160/tonne over first-quarter values. Buyers confirmed prices in the mid-to-high-€1,700s/tonne FD NWE and up to the mid-€1,800s/tonne.

Demand from the coatings sector is healthy, as is typical during the second quarter, but is below second quarter 2011 levels. Meanwhile, offtake from the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) sector is stable. Opinions from this sector are mixed, with some seeing improved levels of demand from the first quarter, while others said buying interest has since softened.

Demand so far this year has been better than initially expected, and operating rates in Europe, the US and Asia have been reduced. Market participants said Evonik Industries, in Germany, would resume production in the next week, after its partial four-week planned turnaround at Worms earlier this month.

UK-based Lucite International, based in Billingham, Teesside confirmed it is running its 200,000 tonne/year MMA plant at full rates.

The spot market was subdued this week, and the range is steady at €1,750-1,850/tonne FD NWE, with one buyer saying it would not pay more than €1,800/tonne FD for spot material.

MMA is an organic compound. This colourless liquid is a monomer produced on a large scale for the production of PMMA.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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