US MA contracts to roll over in March from February

26 February 2013 22:50  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--March contract prices for maleic anhydride (MA) will roll over from February, market sources agreed in the week that ended on 26 February.

MA is assessed by ICIS at 93.20-99.20 cents/lb ($2,055-2,187/tonne, €1,562-1,662/tonne).

Market participants are almost uniformly in agreement that supply and demand have been relatively balanced for many months, going back to the third quarter of 2012.

The only factor that might have changed the equation was the price for primary feedstock normal butane, also called n-butane, which underwent a sharp rise in the final weeks of 2012 and early this year. More recently, however, the price has become more stable and has even seen some slight movement downwards.

One producer said that if the price of normal butane continues to show a steady decline, buyers will probably begin pressing for a reduction in the MA price in next few months.

Another producer noted that the prime season for the production of unsaturated polyester resin (UPR), also called glass fibre, will begin in March. Typically, the prime UPR season lasts until June or July. UPR, which is extensively used in the manufacture of automobiles and boats, is a key downstream product for MA.

Major US producers of MA include Ashland, BASF, Flint Hills Resources and LANXESS.

($1 = 0.76)

Follow Ken Fountain (@ICIS_Ken) on Twitter.

By: Ken Fountain

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