Europe August AA, acrylate esters up on propylene

29 August 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European August acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters contract prices have increased by €30-50/tonne ($38-63/tonne) on higher feedstock propylene costs, sources said on Wednesday.

Despite healthy supply, subdued summer demand and market uncertainty amid global economic instability, prices rose on the back of the €120/tonne hike in the August propylene contract.

The August European propylene contract price settled at €1,055/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe). A sizeable increase had been widely expected on the back of a firmer feedstock market, which had taken cracker margins back to “unsustainable” levels last seen in January.

August AA prices have been assessed at €1,800-1,840/tonne FD NWE, up by €40-50/tonne from the previous month. Spot is selling at €1,490-1,550/tonne FD NWE.

Methyl acrylate (methyl-A) prices for August are assessed at €1,780-1,840/tonne FD NWE, up by €30-40/tonne from July. Spot is steady at €1,650-1,690/tonne FD, amid limited trade because of summer holidays.

Ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) August contract prices are at €1,850-1,890/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €40/tonne, while ethyl-A spot has moved up to €1,500-1,530/tonne FD.

Butyl acrylate (butyl-A) prices have moved up to €1,800-1,840/tonne FD NWE, a €40-50/tonne increase from July, while spot is trading at €1,490-1,520/tonne FD. Prices for 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA) are assessed at €2,090-2,150/tonne, up by €40/tonne on the low end, and 2-EHA spot is at €1,740-1,810/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €10-40/tonne, following similar price increases in Asia, owing to limited availability resulting from outages in the region.

AA and acrylate esters prices are expected to firm in the next few weeks, on continued feedstock hikes. September propylene contract negotiations are ongoing with increases of up to €160-180/tonne being targeted by sellers, while buyers are aiming for hikes closer to €100/tonne.

Demand was slow during August, as is usual during the European summer vacation period. Although the market had initially expected rollovers or slight decreases, producers said there was a need to push through the propylene increase once it had been agreed.

“We cannot absorb the increases,” one producer said. “Downstream, there is a realisation that this [€120/tonne propylene hike] cannot be ignored.”

The spot market saw little activity during August, but demand has picked up as buyers are looking to secure material ahead of expected increases.

($1 = €0.80) 

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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