US October epoxy resins roll over on falling import volumes

09 October 2012 22:01  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US domestic epoxy resins prices for material shipped in October settled at a rollover, sources said on Tuesday.

Sources said the rollover was prompted by a decrease in availability of imported material, which kept pressure off domestic producers to chase sales volumes.

“The Asian market is slowing down and getting more expensive,” a producer said. “There wasn’t much movement in the US market.”

The decrease in import volumes is being attributed to weaker demand in Asia, as well as higher prices in Europe drawing Asian material away from the US.

As a result, US domestic epoxy resins prices for material shipped in October were assessed by ICIS at $1.38-1.45/lb ($3,042-3,197/tonne, €2,342-2,462/tonne) DEL (delivered) bulk.

September prices were assessed at the same level, but several buyers reported that they had moved their domestic prices toward the lower end of the range.

“We had decreased of 3 cents/lb, 4 cents/lb and 8 cents/lb for October,” a buyer said. “And we expect prices in the fourth quarter to continue to soften.”

However, most buyers reported pricing toward the middle of the range and confirmed that their prices rolled over in October from September.

Buyers added that demand and supply is balanced, with demand healthier than expected from the automotive and marine coatings markets.

Outdoor and architectural coatings sales have dipped on seasonal factors and weaker construction activity in the US.

Some sources are expecting a change in prices for November, as feedstock bisphenol A (BPA) and epichlorohydrin (ECH) costs are expected to increase on rises in upstream benzene and propylene markets, respectively.

The rise in feedstock costs could be difficult to pass down the chain, however, as most market sources said they are gearing down for the anticipated inventory drawdown in the fourth quarter.

Major US epoxy resins producers include Dow Chemical, Huntsman and Momentive Specialty Chemicals.

($1 = €0.77)

By: John Dietrich

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