08 February 2013 23:28 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--A second-round of US February methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) price-hike initiatives surfaced on Friday, sources said.
Two producers each proposed increases of 9 cents/lb ($198/tonne, €149/tonne), effective 15 February. Although no rationale was cited, most sources attributed the efforts to pressure from feedstock propylene and acetone.
The new initiatives follow marketwide proposals of plus 15 cents/lb, effective 1 February, also attributed to upstream pressure. The first-round initiatives are expected to succeed with little or no pushback.
Additionally, US MIBK supply has remained snug to tight for several quarters.
December and January contracts settled at rollovers on seasonal demand softness and the absence of price-hike proposals from most producers.
Upstream, the refinery-grade propylene (RGP) range on Friday was wider at 72.00-73.50 cents/lb compared with 72.00-73.25 a week earlier. February material was mostly heard softer during the week but rallied late despite softer demand.
Among other feedstock, a second-round US February isopropanol (IPA) price-hike initiative of 5 cents/lb, effective 20 February, will likely not face much opposition, sources said. In the meantime, sources said broadly proposed 1 February IPA initiatives of plus 5 cents/lb continued to be implemented as buyers acknowledge upstream pressure from primary IPA feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP).
On the US truck acetone front, February prices are expected to rise on continued tight supply. Producers and distributors have nominated increases of 5-6 cents/lb, and buyers expect those to find traction in view of added pressure from propylene.
US MIBK suppliers include Sasol, Haltermann, Celanese and Dow Chemical.
($1 = €0.75)
For more on MIBK, visit the ICIS Plants & Projects database
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