US May acrylates contract prices soften on feedstock, soft demand

23 May 2013 18:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylic acid and acrylate esters contract prices weakened for May on pressure from sharply lower April feedstock values and soft demand, sources confirmed on Thursday.

May prices dropped by an average of 7 cents/lb ($154/tonne, €120/tonne), taking glacial acrylic acid (GAA) prices, for example, to a new range of $1.08-1.12/tonne, as assessed by ICIS.

Sources cited feedstock pressure – chemical-grade propylene (CGP) tumbled in April by 10 cents/lb – and nascent spring coatings demand as the major drivers.

Typical spring coatings demand has been slow to surface because of persistent cold, wet or otherwise inclement weather in the northeast and in other regions.

But sources said a demand uptick is imminent.

“Although demand has been down on weather delays, the storm damage will compensate for that,” a source said.

Current demand is mostly flat, but some sources said they were grateful even for that, given the delayed spring demand this year.

April acrylates previously softened on March propylene declines.

Spot export values were being pressured upward by some suppliers, sources said, but no deals were confirmed yet.

Downstream, an index indicating future US construction activity shifted into negative territory for April after eight months in positive terrain, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Wednesday, citing project-approval delays and credit constraints as primary reasons for the downtrend.

In Europe, acrylates demand was said to have increased recently, but is still below year-ago levels largely on concerns about the eurozone debt crisis and – as in the US –  the delayed spring due to colder, wetter weather.

US acrylates producers include Arkema, Dow Chemical and BASF.

($1 = €0.78)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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