US epoxy resins prices fall 3.7% on strong import competition

18 September 2012 22:50  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US domestic prices for epoxy resins for material ordered in September were assessed an average of 3.7% lower on Tuesday, spurred by strong import competition and softening demand.

For material ordered in September, US domestic prices for liquid epoxy resins (LER) were assessed by ICIS at $1.38-1.45/lb ($3,042-3,197/tonne, €2,312-2,430/tonne) DEL (delivered) bulk.

This is an average of 3.7% lower from material ordered in August, which was assessed at $1.42-1.52/lb DEL bulk.

Most of the drop was attributed to continued pressure from imported material, especially from Asia.

“Demand is soft, supply is good and imports are plentiful,” a buyer said. “Going forward, though, we’re not sure importers can keep prices at their current levels.”

Currently, spot prices for epoxy resins are assessed flat to domestic prices, after trading at a discount as high as 10 cents/lb earlier in the year.

However, even with spot and domestic material priced equally, buyers said they are able to pressure the major US producers.

“We’re not pitting them hard against each other, but they’re lowering their prices,” a buyer said. “They have to sell their material to someone.”

Another factor pushing prices lower is the weaker demand, especially from the outdoor coatings sectors, such as house paint and marine coatings.

Buyers said the fourth quarter is typically the weakest season, and have seen evidence of inventory control measures being put into place.

“We’ve come off the coatings season and there’s not a lot of business being done right now,” a buyer said. “We’re mostly focused on 2013 at this point.”

Sources said prices for material ordered in October, November and December could see some slight slippage, but are unlikely to crash.

Major US epoxy resins producers include Dow Epoxy, Hunstman and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.

($1 = €0.76)

By: John Dietrich

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