US acrylates producers seek Feb gains on escalating feedstock

15 January 2013 22:49  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A major US acrylic acid and acrylate esters producer announced on Tuesday its intent to increase February contract prices because of sharply higher feedstock values.

Arkema said in a customer letter that it will increase the contract price of its glacial acrylic acid (GAA), ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A) and methyl acrylate (methyl-A) by 11 cents/lb ($243/tonne, €182/tonne), effective on 1 February, citing a 15 cent/lb increase in January propylene costs.

Current GAA prices are in a range of $1.10-1.14/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

Unlike its larger competitors, Arkema did not propose acrylates increases for January. The company also plans to increase the February contract price of its butyl acrylate (butyl-A) by 13 cents/lb and its 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA) by 14 cents/lb.

Dow Chemical has also proposed February increases of 9 cents/lb for GAA and the esters. The company cited no rationale for these initiatives or its proposed increases of 3 cents/lb from 1 January.

Producer BASF had previously proposed January hikes of 5-6 cents/lb in anticipation of higher feedstock values. February acrylates initiatives from the company were anticipated, but had not yet surfaced, sources said.

January acrylates negotiations are still underway, but most buyers insisted that broad January pricing would likely rise by only 1-2 cents/lb because market conditions remain largely soft, and December feedstock chemical-grade-propylene (CGP) rose by only 1 cent/lb.

“February is going to be a rough month,” a buyer lamented. “I anticipate pricing will be up by 10-13 cents/lb, depending on how negotiations go. But one thing going for buyers is that there is still plenty of supply.”

“The market is still soft and balanced,” another buyer said. “Propylene is totally the major culprit.”

($1 = €0.75)

For more on acrylates, visit the ICIS plants & projects database

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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