US June MEK rolls over on lower feedstock, imports

03 July 2012 23:01  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) contract values for June settled mostly flat from May, despite some two-tiered pricing that surfaced throughout the month, sources said on Tuesday.

A major producer appeared to have held its pricing flat for most customers, although one distributor reported a 4 cent/lb ($88/tonne, €70/tonne) drop from that supplier late in the month, with no July declines yet coming to light.

Other customers said the large supplier had not yet reduced their June contract prices.

June prices generally faced downward pressure from lower May feedstock and cheaper imports.

Among smaller producers and importers, price reductions averaging 3-5 cents/lb (66-110/tonne, €53-88/tonne) were heard during June, sources said.

MEK contract values were at 95-99 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS. And supply and demand were said to be generally balanced.

Most buyers expected the largest producer to proffer reductions more broadly in July, but spot ethylene prices have begun to rally a bit because of cracker outages. Some customers continued to remain on the sidelines, saying they expected lower pricing this month.

Butane at Mont Belvieu, Texas, was in a range of 128.75-129.25 cents/gal late on Tuesday, up from 116.70-116.80 cents/gal on the previous Friday.

US spot ethylene late on Monday was at 42.375 cents/lb, trading up for July compared with a bid at 42.25 cents/lb on the previous Friday. The uptick is supported by recent cracker outages.

US MEK suppliers include Shell Chemicals, ExxonMobil and Sasol.

($1 = €0.79)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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