US July epoxy resins prices set for fall on import competition

05 July 2012 17:04  [Source: ICIS news]

Artist Rodrigo Alonso makes stools and tables by suspending discarded electronics in epoxy resin.HOUSTON (ICIS)--US domestic epoxy resins prices for material ordered in July are expected to fall, sources said on Thursday, on mixed feedstock costs and increased competition from imported material.

Buyers said prices are likely to fall to the $1.42-1.47/lb ($3,131-3,241/tonne, €2,504-2,593/tonne) DEL bulk (delivered in bulk), while producers cited prices in the $1.47-1.57/lb DEL bulk range.

Prices for material ordered in June were assessed by ICIS at $1.50-1.60/lb DEL bulk.

Buyers argued that prices should continue to fall substantially because feedstock bisphenol A (BPA) prices are weaker because of acetone prices falling.

The June large-buyer acetone price - mostly used by methyl methacrylate (MMA) producers - fell by 8 cents/lb, and sources said acetone buyers in the BPA market likely received a similar fall.

However, epoxy resins producers said BPA prices have not plummeted because high benzene costs are keeping phenol prices steady to slightly higher, and phenol is a bigger piece of BPA than acetone.

“It is unbelievable that benzene prices are staying up,” a producer said. “Margin crunch is starting to really pick up.” 

Additionally, BPA might be tight in the US, as a major producer is experiencing some production issues, sources said.

Imported epoxy resin material is assessed by ICIS at $.1.40-1.45/lb DEL bulk, and several US buyers said they are purchasing as much material as possible.

“US buyers can’t make too big a dent with imports, though,” a buyer said. “The North American-Asian price gap isn’t big enough for them to bring in the needed volumes to really threaten US producers’ market share.”

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

($1 = €0.80)

By: John Dietrich

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