Price and market trends: US acetic acid buyers resist price hike attempts

31 May 2013 09:37  [Source: ICB]

US acetic acid price increases sought by producers for June drew somewhat sceptical responses from buyers on 21 May.

A US buyer bristled at what he called the arrogance of acetyls producers, "who think they can get 3 cents/lb whenever they want".

Three producers issued price increases the week ended 17 May, with LyondellBasell and Eastman Chemical seeking 3 cent/lb ($66/tonne, €51/tonne) hikes for 1 June, and Celanese 4.5 cents/lb effective immediately.

The proposals came after a 2.2 cent/lb drop in that week following a dip in feedstock US methanol resulting from an effort to close the arbitrage between China and American spot methanol prices.

The average of the US acetic acid spot range has increased about 2 cents/lb so far this year, now at roughly 27-31 cents/lb.

A Celanese plant capacity cutback in China and planned shutdowns and rising methanol prices in Europe were also factors.

Another US buyer said he expected customers to accept some of the increase.

"I think 1 cent/lb is realistic, but no more than that," the buyer said. "BP/Samsung from Korea is being extremely aggressive in the marketplace, and so far there are no indications of price fluctuations in the Far East."

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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