24 May 2013 20:32 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US May barge acetone contract has initially settled flat from April, despite some supply-side pressure to move prices up marginally, sources confirmed on Friday.
A full settlement at a rollover would hold barge prices steady at 58.5 cents/lb ($1,290/tonne, €993/tonne). April’s barge contract previously settled down by 7.5 cents/lb, partly on pressure from then-weakening feedstock refinery-grade propylene (RGP).
At least one producer had not completed its negotiations early on Friday before the US Memorial Day holiday, and confirmation of rollovers were pending from a couple of other market players.
The acetone market remained “extremely tight” during the week, and sources expected conditions to worsen in the near-term as phenol production rates remained broadly below 70% on slack demand.
In foreign markets, China’s Sinopec SABIC Tianjin Petrochemical shut its 350,000 tonne/year phenol/acetone unit at Binhai in Tianjin early in the week because of a technical glitch, but restart is expected to begin on 25 May.
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 during the week, citing project-approval delays and credit constraints as primary reasons for the downtrend.
May benzene rose to $4.47/gal from $4.36/gal in April after three months of declines.
The US barge acetone contract is negotiated between three large producers – Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol and Shell – and the three largest buyers – Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.
($1 = €0.77)
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