US March acrylic acid rolls over, most esters rise slightly

28 March 2013 21:41  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US March glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and methyl acrylate (methyl-A) contract prices rolled over for March while other acrylate esters moved marginally higher, sources confirmed on Thursday.

Larger buyers reported flat March settlements for most or all of the acrylates while smaller buyers said they agreed to pay 3-4 cents/lb ($66-88/tonne, €51-69/tonne) more this month for some of their products based on propylene gains of 6 cents/lb in February.

The GAA contract range remained steady for March at $1.19-1.23/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

Sources said that despite the February propylene increase that prompted all three major domestic producers to seek March acrylates increases of 6-7 cents/lb, soft market conditions including still-weak demand and ample inventories immediately weakened the March proposals by 2-3 cents/lb or led to rollovers.

One customer said it received slight reductions for some of the esters because its supplier wanted to maintain volumes, and because those products have remained so plentiful.

Suppliers’ willingness to negotiate, one buyer said, “means that there is plenty of volume around”.

That willingness was not universal, however. One producer was said to have walked away from some March volume to preserve propylene margin stemming from the 6 cent/lb March decline in chemical grade propylene (CGP).

Several buyers said they expected to recoup their February and March acrylates costs in April because of the March CGP drop and softer CGP expected for April.

CGP giveback will come for everyone, customers insist, even if for some it does not come until May.

Adhesives makers are anticipating growth in North America at or above GDP levels, and most paint makers attending an annual industry conference in San Antonio during the last week of March were optimistic about US spring coatings season demand despite its delay start because of bad weather.

Downstream, US pending home sales edged down by 0.4% in February from January – a downturn blamed on a lack of available homes, which could further hamper a housing recovery. In its monthly report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its pending home sales index (PHSI) was the third decline in the last four months.

US acrylates producers include Dow Chemical, Arkema and BASF.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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