US March acrylates initiatives weakening on soft demand

14 March 2013 20:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US March acrylic acid and acrylate esters contracts are beginning to settle up but are lower than levels sought by producers, sources confirmed on Thursday.

The major sellers have each proposed March hikes of 6-7 cents/lb ($132-154/tonne, €102-119/tonne) on February feedstock pressure.

February chemical-grade propylene (CGP) increases of 6 cents/lb are driving the upward March acrylates price momentum, but persistent soft demand appears to be weakening suppliers’ chances for a full settlement.

“I am seeing March acrylates settle at plus 4-5 cents/lb,” a buyer said. “And, with propylene falling off a cliff for March, it’s going to be fun negotiating prices for a change. I expect to get all of this increase back in April, and hopefully a little more.”

However, at least one seller insisted that is too early to tell how successful the pushback will be. The producer also said there has been less resistance than it expected, given continuing softness from the coatings sector.

Although two buyers said demand from the adhesives sector has improved after a weak January, other sources said full-year demand growth in that sector is unlikely to exceed estimated GDP of 2-3%.

Paint makers say architectural coatings demand is still lagging year-ago levels, but some sources remain optimistic that demand will pick up soon despite the delay to the spring coatings season partly because of inclement weather.

February glacial acrylic acid (GAA) is in a range of $1.19-1.23/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

US acrylates suppliers include Arkema, Dow Chemical, BASF and Sasol.

($1 = €0.77)

For more on acrylates, visit the ICIS Plants & Projects database

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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