US September acrylates settle flat on soft fundamentals

19 September 2012 21:52  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices settled flat for September on weaker August propylene, plentiful supply and soft to flat demand, sources confirmed on Wednesday.

The rollover will hold glacial acrylic acid (GAA) contracts steady from August in a range of $1.09-$1.13/lb ($2,403-2,491/tonne, €1,850-1,918/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

Some slight price concessions were heard negotiated during the month, in a range of minus 1.00-1.25 cents/lb for at least two of the esters, but the consensus was that freely negotiated pricing had remained flat for most market participants.

A producer said those reductions were implemented for select customers in an effort to bring some pricing into parity with the bulk of the domestic market.

September’s feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) contract was expected to settle between either a rollover of 49 cents/lb or up to an increase of 2 cents/lb, giving producers and importers an opportunity to pursue gains in October acrylates, sources said.

However, no October price initiatives had yet surfaced, indicating that producers were awaiting the September propylene settlement, sources said.

In production news, Sasol’s 80,000 tonne/year acrylic acid plant in Sasolburg, South Africa, is due to restart in early October, after its 40-day turnaround for a catalyst change is completed.

Downstream, US sales of existing homes shot up by nearly 8% in August from July, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said late in the week. The group said the data indicates the housing sector is in a steady recovery.

Despite talk of a slow fourth quarter, the feedstock US oxo-alcohols 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and n-butanol (NBA) markets appear likely to see increases in October, sources said. Initiatives of plus 3 cents/lb for NBA and 2-EH recently surfaced, with a producer citing higher raw material, energy and freight costs.

US acrylates producers include Arkema, Dow Chemical and BASF.

($1 = €0.77)

For more on acrylic acid, visit the ICIS Plants & Projects database

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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