Nippon Shokubai may get Japan gov’t nod to restart plants end-Feb

06 February 2013 09:43  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Japan’s Nippon Shokubai is expected to receive approval from the government to restart its acrylic acid (AA) and superabsorbent polymer (SAP) facilities in Himeji by the end of February, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

An explosion at the site in end-September 2012 prompted the government to order the shutdown of Himeji production facilities, including the 460,000 tonne/year AA plant and the 320,000 tonne/year SAP facility.

Production can resume contingent upon the government’s completion of safety inspections and investigations on the plants.

Participants in the Asian AA and acrylate easters markets have retreated to the sidelines because of uncertainties over when the Himeji facilities can restart, coupled with prevailing weak buying appetite. Buyers have remained cautious about procuring cargoes, market sources said.

“Raw material costs like propylene and n-butanol (NBA) are rising, resulting in squeezed margins,” a northeast Asia-based seller said, adding that AA and acrylate esters prices will have to increase.

On 30 January, prices of butyl acrylate (butyl-A) increased by $20-50/tonne (€15-37/tonne) week on week to $1,900-1,970/tonne CIF (cost, insurance & freight) southeast Asia, according to ICIS.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Samuel Wong

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