US May acrylates initially settling down by 7-8 cents/lb

16 May 2013 21:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Initial US May acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract settlements were being heard down by 7-8 cents/lb ($154-176/tonne, €120-138/tonne), sources said on Thursday.

Prices are being pressured downward by flat to soft demand, long supply and the sharp drop in April feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) prices.

If the market fully settles down by 7 cents/lb, for example, May acrylic acid would be in a new range of $1.08-1.12/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

A couple of buyers said they are confident that acrylates pricing will continue to weaken or settle flat for several months in the absence of a spring paint and coatings season that has failed to materialise yet.

“I don’t see where, for the rest of this year, there is any need to be concerned about price increases,” a buyer said.

As for year-over-year downstream volume forecasts, “I think we are hitting volume targets, but not necessarily revenue targets,” another buyer said, “because customers want price decreases.”

Others, including one producer, concede that demand is mostly flat but are marginally optimistic that adhesives and coatings demand will see more than a nominal rebound by summer.

April contract acrylates prices previously softened on March propylene declines, but the pace of feedstock declines has slowed remarkably. May propylene settled down by only 1 cent/lb despite broad expectations of a larger drop.

Many market participants said they were only slightly surprised by the minimal May concessions from propylene producers, saying a decline of 3-5 cents/lb or more had been expected.

US oxo-alcohol feedstock 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and n-butanol (NBA) contract prices also weakened for May on lower April feedstock values.

US acrylates producers include Dow Chemical, Arkema and BASF.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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