AFPM `13: US March acrylates initiatives weaken on soft market

23 March 2013 16:00  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US March acrylic acid and acrylate esters price-hike initiatives continued to see weakening but mixed results, sources said in advance of the annual International Petrochemical Conference (IPC), held by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) in San Antonio.

Although all of the major producers proposed increases of 6-7 cents/lb ($132-154/tonne, €102-119/tonne) for March, those efforts quickly began to weaken, with varying degrees of pushback reported by producers.

While several buyers have settled March at increases of 3-5 cents/lb, at least two sellers said they were able to achieve rollovers for glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and methyl acrylate (methyl-A).

Although some customers did pay more, market weakness prevailed.

“I absolutely feel there was a very strong push for 2-EHA [2-ethylhexyl acrylate],” a buyer said, “but it really looks like that entire [acrylates] initiative is going to fall on its face. I think that’s pretty telling.”

The March initiatives were based on February feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) gains of 6 cents/lb, but ample supply and soft demand continued to counterbalance that argument, buyers insisted.

Several buyers said they expected to recoup their March acrylates price increases in April because of the drop in March CGP, but other customers warned that producers may attempt to hold pricing flat in April, with the intent of waiting until May to give back some propylene costs.

Coatings remained among the weakest of end markets and still lagging year-ago levels, but adhesives demand was healthier, sources said.

Downstream, the US Commerce Department said new-home construction rose by 0.8% in February from January.

However, market confidence among US home builders fell slightly in March for the second month straight.

Despite that sentiment, a monthly survey of US architectural firms reflected industry growth for the seventh consecutive month, but an economist cautioned that mixed business conditions still exist within a hesitant recovery.

AFPM begins on Sunday and lasts through Tuesday.

($1 = €0.77)

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

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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