US VAM Q4 roll over, spot up $50/tonne again with ethylene

15 January 2013 20:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) fourth-quarter contract prices settled at a rollover, and spot prices continued to rise with another jump in ethylene values, buyers said on Tuesday.

Contract prices remained at 57-60 cents/lb ($1,257-1,323/tonne, €943-992/tonne). While some customers have monthly contracts, those based on the quarterly period usually settle after the period is over and the latest monthly ethylene contact is determined.

Earlier this month, the December ethylene contract settled down slightly, at 44.25 cents/lb. Ethylene is a major feedstock and accounts for about 38% of the VAM price.

But spot ethylene has moved the other way, jumping 17% in the past month. Spot ethylene traded sharply higher this week at 61-65 cents/lb on talk of outages at two crackers and the start of planned maintenance at two other units.

The rise in spot ethylene pushed VAM spot prices up again this week, by $50/tonne to $950-1,050/tonne, following last week’s similar increase.

Two producers, Dow Chemical and Celanese, want to raise VAM prices by 6 cents/lb immediately, based on announcements issued last week and the week before.

VAM sources said the ethylene jump was just one of a number of reasons for the proposed hike.

INEOS declared a force majeure on material made at its Hull, UK, plant in early January. In the US, sources said DuPont would shut down its Texas plant in La Porte for a 20-day turnaround later this month.

Buyers and sellers also said December had been a generally lacklustre month for VAM sales.

Major US VAM sellers include Celanese, Dow Chemical, DuPont and LyondellBasell.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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