US May barge acetone settles at 23% fall on cheaper feedstocks

01 June 2012 17:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US May barge acetone contract reached a full settlement at a drop of 23% from April, sources said on Friday.

The May contract was settled at 52.5 cents/lb ($1,157/tonne, €938/tonne) DEL barges (delivered via barges), buyers and sellers confirmed.

This was 15.5 cents/lb lower than April’s settlement of 68 cents/lb DEL barges.

Sources said feedstock refinery-grade propylene (RGP) prices falling were the main factor.

RGP spot prices have fallen by 16.75-18.50 cents/lb in the past four weeks, as assessed by ICIS.

Demand for acetone from the barge market, which is mostly used for methyl methacrylate (MMA) production, was steady, sources said, although one buyer had limited demand.

As a result, less expensive Asian material did not play a factor in pushing down on prices, sources said.

“It doesn’t look as though anyone wants to risk bringing that material over and watching it end up being a bad deal,” a US acetone producer said.

Acetone supply was also tight in May because of three major producers being in turnaround for portions of the month for routine maintenance.

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 = €0.81)

By: John Dietrich

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