29 April 2013 17:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US isopropanol (IPA) contract values fell for April on pressure from softer feedstock and slack demand, sources confirmed on Monday.
Most of the decline of 6 cents/lb ($132/tonne, €102/tonne) came early in the month, some sources said, and the decrease took IPA contract prices to a new range of 86-87 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.
Buyers said there was little spot material available during most of the month.
“IPA was tight for some time, and then prices began falling and people seemed eager to sell, but I still think it’s relatively balanced market,” one customer said.
Another source said import levels may be escalating, exerting further downward pressure on domestic pricing. The anticipation of weaker pricing may also have delayed sales, stretching supply.
Downstream demand for coatings is still softer than projections, but although optimism exists among some market participants, others insist economic recovery remains stymied.
In other economic news, however, single-family housing starts will reach 672,000 units by the end of this year and then climb to nearly 860,000 new one-family build-outs in 2014 as the housing sector continues to recover, a US home builders organisation said.
In its semi-annual housing sector forecast, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said that by the end of next year, construction of new single-family homes should reach 858,000 for the full year, or about 71% of what was considered normal new home construction of 1.3m units annually before the housing market crash in 2006.
Feedstock chemical-grade propylene fell by 10 cents/lb in April, and is anticipated lower again in May.
On feedstock truck acetone front, prices were heard largely in the mid-60s cent/lb range for April, down about 9 cents/lb from March on weaker upstream values. Barge acetone contracts for April also fell to 58.5 cents/lb.
US IPA suppliers include Shell Chemical, ExxonMobil, Haltermann, Sasol and LyondellBasell.
($1 = €0.77)
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