US acetic acid spot prices jump $66/tonne on FM, Lyondell increase

26 July 2012 23:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acetic acid spot prices jumped $66/tonne (€53/tonne) this week following a force majeure declared by BP earlier in the week and news of a  proposed increase for August by LyondellBasell, buyers said on Thursday.

Sources said acetic acid FOB (free on board) export prices now run $616-661/tonne, up 11-12% from the previous range of $550-595/tonne.

The jump is a breakout to a new high this year for spot US acetic acid, which previously moved little within a range of $530-$620/tonne.

The move up followed the force majeure declared by BP earlier this week on material produced at a Texas plant. BP announced the force majeure in a 23 July letter to customers.

Sources said the hike also followed a move by LyondellBasell, which issued a 3 cent/lb increase proposal for acetic acid on Thursday that would take effect on 1 August. The hike is targeted at North, Central and South America.

A LyondellBasell spokesman would not comment on the letter sent to customers.

A buyer said prices for large acetic acid customers had increased to 30 cents/lb (661/tonne) this week. The buyer predicted the impact of the BP force majeure would linger for 45-60 days.

“The market feels like it’s tightening fast,” the buyer said.

Another buyer confirmed that some customers already had agreed to LyondellBasell’s August proposal.

“Once BP is back up, they will ease off,” the buyer said. “This is a textbook manoeuvre.”

In its letter to customers on the force majeure, BP did not estimate how long the outage would last.

Major US acetic acid sellers include BP, Celanese and Eastman Chemical.

LyondellBasell also plans to raise prices for vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) by 2 cents/lb, or $44/tonne, in North, Central and South America on 1 August.

One buyer had heard of spot VAM rising by $44/tonne to match the Lyondell proposal, but it could not be confirmed.

Major US VAM sellers include Celanese, Dow Chemical, DuPont and LyondellBasell.

($1 = €0.82)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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