US October acrylates roll over for third straight month

10 October 2012 23:50  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US October acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices rolled over from September, sources said on Wednesday.

The flat settlement will hold US acrylic acid contract prices at $1.09-1.13/lb ($2,403-2,491/tonne, €1,874-1,943/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

No October price-hike initiatives surfaced, but sources also noted that prices did not weaken despite prevailing soft market conditions.

The rollover is the third in as many months, partly reflecting relative stability in the price of primary feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) during the third quarter.

Sources said stable-though-soft acrylates demand amid plentiful supply also helped keep acrylate monomer pricing steady.

Spot export values were heard steady during the weak, but heightened export activity and pricing was expected in the wake of Nippon Shokubai’s recent acrylic acid plant explosion in Himeji, Japan.

Nippon Shokubai took down a portion of the 380,000 tonne/year operation indefinitely. The duration of the outage has been suggested in a range of 1 to 6 months.

Sources were largely unworried about domestic supply constraints.

“Most people are saying the excess supply in the US will be shipped to Asia due to the Nippon Shokubai issue,” a buyer said, “but this will not cause any shortages in the US.”

A couple of buyers expected an acrylates price push of at least 1 cent/lb for November, with one buyer saying producers would likely take advantage of the outage in Japan.

Feedstock propylene for October settled up by 1.5 cent/lb, just below nominations put forward for the month. The increase took CGP to 51.50 cents/lb.

After falling sharply in May and June, CGP settled flat for July, weakened by 1.50 cents/lb for August and settled up by 1.00 cent/lb for September.

US acrylates producers include Dow Chemical, Arkema and BASF.

($1 = €0.78)

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

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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