09 October 2012 13:10 [Source: ICIS news]
BUDAPEST (ICIS)--Following a year of feedstock volatility, the acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters market in Europe needs stability in 2013, and there will be a focus on improving margins next year, a producer said on Tuesday.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 46th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Hungary, the producer said: “The word that everyone is talking about is ‘stability’.”
The seller said that if raw material propylene pricing is reasonably stable next year, and demand remains steady, there may be some opportunity to improve margins. “The killer this year has been raw materials,” it added.
Propylene moved up by over €200/tonne from January to April, then down by close to €300/tonne through until the end of July, then up again by €225/tonne for August and September combined. The latest October contract price settled with a comparatively modest adjustment of minus €20/tonne ($26/tonne).
“It seems most people in the market have either suffered with poor margins or reduced volumes,” the producer said. “In our case, demand has been steady this year with 2011 and indeed previous years.” The supplier went on to say that next year its aim would be to claw back margins where possible.
Weakened macroeconomics have clouded visibility, leaving most players in the industry cautious and keeping inventory stocks carefully managed.
The market has been struggling to keep pace with feedstock costs and sellers have had to contend with sharp price rises upstream, as they have been unable to adequately compensate for the gains seen for propylene this year.
Looking ahead, buyers and sellers said consumption levels in 2013 are expected to be in line with this year’s volumes.
The annual EPCA meeting runs from 6-10 October.
($1 = €0.77)
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