AFPM '13: US VAM buyers doubt latest Celanese hike will be approved

24 March 2013 21:13  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--US vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) buyers on Sunday said they doubt that the market will accept the latest 6 cent/lb ($130/tonne, €100/tonne) increase proposed by Celanese.

Buyers on the sidelines of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers' (AFPM's) International Petrochemical Conference (IPC) said VAM demand is too weak to support the proposal Celanese issued on 22 March for North, South and Central America.

“Things are still very soft,” a buyer said. “We see plant utilisation for the major producers being below 80% now, which is extremely low for that market.”

Another buyer said Celanese was trying to capitalise on turnarounds at VAM plants scheduled for March, April and May.

US VAM spot prices as assessed by ICIS cover a range of $1,000-1,100 tonne. Celanese’s increase would push that range to $1,130-1,230/tonne.

“That’s too rich,” a buyer said. “I don’t see it being accepted.”

Celanese gave no explanation for the increase, which the company said would be effective immediately.

Sources said quarterly VAM settlements are still at least a week away, awaiting the conclusion of the March ethylene contract which is not expected until after the IPC.

Based on ethylene contract and spot prices during the first quarter this year, a rollover or slight increase in contract prices seems likely, sources said.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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