08 March 2013 09:25 [Source: ICB]
US February acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices gained 5-8 cents/lb ($110-176/tonne, €85-136/tonne) from January on feedstock pressure, market sources confirmed on 27 February.
The increase moved glacial acrylic acid (GAA) to a new range of $1.19-1.23/lb, as assessed by ICIS. US acrylates gained a total of 7-10 cents/lb over the January-February period.
Although weak conditions including soft demand and ample supply have persisted for most of the first quarter, a producer said demand has begun to strengthen - possibly from some pre-buying - but is still weaker than usual from the coatings segment for the period up to the US painting season.
COATINGS SEASON LIMITED
The spring coatings season has been inhibited by severe weather including a blizzard accompanied by hurricane-force winds across the northeast earlier this month.
In the meantime, the three major US producers have proposed contract increases of 6-7 cents/lb, effective 1 March. One seller cited higher manufacturing costs stemming from more expensive feedstock.
Among feedstocks, February chemical-grade propylene (CGP) recently settled up by 6 cents/lb, moving the price to 77.5 cents/lb. Sources said the increase stemmed from a stronger spot market and tighter supply in January, although the upward momentum stalled at the beginning of February.
The sixth straight monthly propylene increase was prompted by tightened supply stemming from several unexpected cracker outages in January and low production of refinery-grade propylene (RGP).
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