Europe MMA spot prices steady amid subdued demand

24 May 2013 14:41  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The European methyl methacrylate (MMA) spot market has seen little activity this week and prices remain stable, sources said on Friday.

“The market is pretty quiet, really quiet. It's quiet. I didn’t do any business this week,” a trader said.

European spot prices are steady from last week's range at €1,630-1,690/tonne ($2,117-2,195/tonne) FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

The trader is offering material at the higher end of the €1,600-1,700/tonne FD range.

“I have very little MMA.” It explained its policy for now is to only replace stock once it has sold material.

“Then we will order new tanks,” it said. The trader said it is facing cost problems. “Looking at the euro dollar exchange rate, it’s difficult at the moment. As long as there is enough [material for the market] from the producers, we would rather sell limited volumes to regular customers.”

Demand has picked up with the start of the coatings season, but consumption levels are lower than they were last year. The coatings season typically begins in April, but weak macroeconomic conditions and cold weather have slowed demand.

There are few volumes coming into Europe from Brazil, as suppliers there are focusing on demand in the Americas. It is understood that Brazilian imports are only likely to increase if there are further supply restrictions in Europe, or if the market starts to pick up.

“But as long as it stays like this - and that is too long for my liking – this is the situation. It can only get better,” the trader said.

A couple of trucks were sold at €1,660/tonne FD NWE this week, another seller said, adding: “But it has been very quiet.”

A third trader that is offering spot in the mid-€1,600s/tonne FD NWE, said it had not seen much of an improvement in demand since April.

“In the spot market, we can hardly do anything. One customer said to me, ‘even if you have it free of charge for me, I have no need for it.’ Demand is quite weak and prices are competitive.”

One buyer that has seen offers of €1,600-1,650/tonne FD said that although there was much speculation that the market would tighten in the second quarter, it did not think this was the case.

“I really got the impression that it'd get tight, that really was a load of rubbish. Sellers are really just going for margin. I don’t see - at all - a tight market in MMA.”

“Not much news going on,” another consumer said regarding the market this week. “Same old, same old, sadly.”

($1 = €0.77)

Follow Helena Strathearn on Twitter

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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