30 May 2013 22:22 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US May barge acetone contract has fully settled at a rollover from April, stabilising after two months of declines, sources confirmed on Thursday.
The settlement holds pricing at 58.5 cents/lb ($1,290/tonne, €993/tonne), flat from the April barge contract, which previously settled down by 7.5 cents/lb.
Despite tight acetone supply, which stems largely from reduced phenol production rates hovering around 70%, acetone contract prices weakened in March and April on upstream weakness and delayed coatings demand mostly from the architectural sector.
“Acetone is extremely tight,” a producer said. “We haven’t been in the export market for the last several months, and are just making our best effort to cover contracts.” Diminished phenol production will make “a tight (acetone) market get only tighter”.
Spring coatings demand is typically stronger by this time of year, but has been slow to gain momentum because of storms and otherwise persistently inclement weather in the northeast and in other regions.
Storm damage will eventually spur heightened interest in coatings and construction-related products, sources said, but demand remains largely pent up for now.
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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