April MMA contracts flat to weaker on upstream pressure

29 April 2013 21:36  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices weakened slightly for April, market sources confirmed on Monday.

Although most truck and rail contracts rolled over, some reductions of 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne, €34/tonne) were confirmed by buyers and sellers, prompting an assessment of 1 cent/lb down for April.

The decline took the April railcar range to $1.20-1.24/tonne, and the truck range slipped to $1.22-1.26/tonne, as assessed by ICIS.

Some customers insisted contract values should have fallen further on weaker feedstock, but sources on both sides of the market acknowledge the counterbalancing effect of strong MMA demand.

The US March barge acetone contract weakened by 5 cents/lb, and truck prices fell by 6 cents/lb.

Although there were few MMA concessions, one buyer said it had several offers at below-March levels, suggesting they stemmed from softer upstream values and the availability of imports amid relatively balanced supply and demand in the US.

Downstream demand for coatings is still softer than projections, but although optimism exists among some market participants, others insist economic recovery remains stymied.

In its monthly index of chemical industry activity, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) showed an 0.2% gain this month from the March measure – negligible by some standards but the ninth consecutive monthly improvement.

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.

Major US MMA producers include Arkema, Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.77)


By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653



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