Europe May MMA contract prices dip on softer market fundamentals

17 May 2013 23:59  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Europe May methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices have moved down by €10-20/tonne ($13-26/tonne) since April on softer market conditions, sources said on Friday.

May MMA contract prices are at €1,750-1,770/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe), and are €80/tonne below levels seen at the same time last year.

The market is balanced. Demand is slower than it usually is in the second quarter, because of ongoing concerns surrounding the eurozone debt crisis, as well as indications from the Asian and US markets that buying interest is lacklustre.

A colder-than-usual European spring has further dampened the mood in the industry, with many players pointing out that the coatings season has not yet begun. Demand from the coatings and the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) sectors typically rises in April, but there has so far only been a slight improvement versus March demand levels.

Recent falls in upstream costs have added downward price pressure. The May feedstock acetone MMA contract fell by €60/tonne, on the back of the lower propylene contract price for May.

Producers sought to recover margins in April and second-quarter contract discussions. MMA prices for April and the second quarter increased.

“What has become clear is that throughout the period from the beginning of April, prices have been coming off almost on a weekly basis,” a buyer said.

“It's been such a cloudy picture and we needed to make sure we secured stock, but the initial fears of tightness have not been realised,” it explained, “There was the fear factor. We got caught up in the hype of it.”

A producer previously said that some confidence had been restored in the industry on slightly improved demand: “Demand is up a bit on April and that was up a bit on March, so it’s following a trend.”

($1 = €0.78)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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