US September MMA contracts fall on weaker seasonal demand

21 September 2012 21:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US September contract prices for methyl methacrylate (MMA) were assessed 2.2% lower on Friday, tracking seasonal factors that are reducing demand.

US September MMA contracts were assessed by ICIS at $1.075-1.125/lb ($2,370-2,480/tonne, €1,825-1,910/tonne) FD railcar (free delivered via railcar).

September prices were 2.5 cents/lb lower than the August settlement of $1.10-1.15/lb FD railcar.

“Demand has been weak,” a buyer said. “Painting season has been down and manufacturing is declining.”

Although the US Department of Commerce said new US home construction increased by 2.3% in August, building permits declined by 1%, signaling a probable decline for paint and coatings.

“It’s the time of year when MMA ramps down for seasonal reasons,” a producer said.

The slight softening in demand is not expected to exert much downward pressure on prices, sources said.

Two major producers said they rolled over their September pricing from August levels, but most buyers said they were able to shed 1-3 cents/lb in September.

Buyers pointed to improved supply and stable feedstock costs as other reasons for prices to stay steady or dip slightly.

The main feedstock for MMA, US barge acetone, gained 0.5 cents/lb in August, and early indications point to a rollover in September.

Additionally, US methanol, ammonia and natural gas prices have been steady in September.

Major US MMA producers include Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.77)

By: John Dietrich

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