US June epoxy resins fall 6% on import competition, feedstocks

12 June 2012 22:36  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US domestic epoxy resins prices for material ordered in June fell by 6.1% from May, sources said on Tuesday.

US domestic epoxy resins prices for material ordered in June were assessed by ICIS at $1.50-1.60/lb ($3,307-3,527/tonne, €2,646-2,822/tonne) DEL bulk (delivered in bulk).

Prices for material ordered in May were assessed by ICIS at $1.60-1.70/lb DEL bulk.

Sources said falling feedstock values in the US benzene and propylene markets were a big driver.

“A lot of the downward momentum was driven by propylene,” a producer said. “However, benzene was hard to figure.”

US spot refinery-grade propylene prices have fallen by 24% in the past four weeks, tracking overall weaker global energy values.

However, the US June benzene contract price fell by just 2.4% from May.

“Benzene is limiting the downside in the epoxy resins market,” a buyer said. “Nobody really knows why it’s not falling.”

In addition to cheaper feedstocks, sources said more imported material is making its way into the US and remains at a discount to domestic product.

“We’re seeing offshore material somewhat cheaper and we’re buying it aggressively,” the buyer said.

However, lead times have been increasing, sources said, which could lead to concerns that imported product will not represent a value when it arrives in the US compared to future domestic prices.

Demand for epoxy resins is still healthy, sources said, fuelled by the automotive, marine and multi-purpose coatings markets.

Major US epoxy resins producers include Dow Chemical, Huntsman and Momentive.

($1 = €0.80)

By: John Dietrich

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