Europe September AA, acrylate esters up on propylene

19 September 2012 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European September acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters contract prices have mostly increased by €40-50/tonne ($52-65/tonne) on higher feedstock propylene costs, sources said on Wednesday.

One producer said, “[September] increases are €50/tonne, but not enough to recoup the propylene increases.”

AA contracts for September settled at €1,850-1,890/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), up by €50/tonne from August. The spot price has moved up by €20/tonne to €1,510-1,570/tonne FD.

Production margins have been squeezed this year as raw material costs have risen, while demand has been lower than usual. August and September propylene contracts increased by a total of €225/tonne, and buyers in the derivative esters market recognise that these prices need to be absorbed further down the chain.

Demand has picked up slightly since the subdued summer period but the outlook for the coming weeks remains unclear, in light of economic uncertainty.

Methyl acrylate (methyl-A) prices for September are assessed at €1,820-1,890/tonne FD NWE, up by €40-50/tonne from August. Spot is steady at €1,650-1,690/tonne FD, amid limited trade.

Ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) September contract prices are at €1,900-1,940/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €50/tonne, while ethyl-A spot is steady at €1,500-1,530/tonne FD.

Butyl acrylate (butyl-A) prices have moved up to €1,840-1,890/tonne FD NWE, a €40-50/tonne increase from August, while spot is trading firmer on the high end at €1,490-1,560/tonne FD. Prices for 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA) are assessed at €2,130-2,170/tonne, up by €20-40/tonne, and 2-EHA spot is at €1,760-1,850/tonne FD NWE, an increase of €10-30/tonne.

The September European propylene contract price settled at €1,160/tonne FD NWE. Both customers and sellers acknowledged that a price increase was necessary in view of the recent spike in upstream naphtha costs and the need to recoup cracker margin losses.

There are expectations that producers will target increases in October AA and acrylate esters contracts, in a continued effort to claw back margins.

AA and its esters readily combine with themselves or other monomers, forming homopolymers or copolymers which are used in the manufacture of various plastics, coatings, adhesives and elastomers, as well as floor polishes and paints.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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