US June methyl methacrylate contracts fall 7.1% on acetone

14 June 2012 20:30  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US June methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices fell by 7.1%, sources said on Thursday, tracking a steep drop in key feedstock acetone.

US June MMA contract prices were assessed 9 cents/lb ($198/tonne, €156/tonne) lower, in a range of $1.15-1.21/lb FD (free delivered) railcar.

May’s prices were assessed by ICIS at $1.24-1.30/lb FD railcar.

Most buyers and sellers attributed the fall to a 23% drop in acetone prices in the barge market, which is where MMA buyers purchase the feedstock.

“I think you’ll see more of a fall in July as the rest of that gets passed down,” an MMA buyer said. “It takes a while for us to see all of it.”

MMA buyers said demand is steady to strong, particularly from the coatings segment, although sales levels might have already peaked.

“There is some thought that that is what’s happened,” a buyer said. “However, sales are still good.”

An MMA producer said even if demand drops slightly, sales levels are healthy enough to absorb all of the material in the US, leaving very little on the spot market.

“We’re running hard and selling everything we make,” the producer said. “If we had more we could sell it.”

US buyers are also hesitant to look for less expensive Asian material, citing concerns that in the time the product is on the water, US MMA prices could fall again.

Major US MMA producers include Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.79)

By: John Dietrich

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