Price and market trends: Europe acrylate esters demand up but below May 2012 levels

31 May 2013 09:41  [Source: ICB]

Consumers say demand in line with April, but consumption has fallen by 10% year on year

Demand for acrylate esters in May in Europe has picked up slightly, but is below levels seen at the same time in 2012, sources said on 22 May.

May demand is not as healthy as normal, because concerns surrounding the eurozone debt crisis have hampered consumer confidence; and a later and colder start to spring than usual has delayed outdoor building projects, thus slowing purchases into the coatings sector.

 Sales in May are up from earlier this year, as demand from the coatings sector has improved

Copyright: RexFeatures

However, orders are being made and sales are up compared with earlier months in the year, sources from the industry confirmed. Demand from the coatings sector has also improved, market participants said, and while weather in Europe is not as warm as it traditionally is in spring, it is warm enough for building projects to get underway.

Offtake levels and the demand outlook in Europe for acrylate esters varies, depending on source.

A number of consumers indicate that demand is in line with April levels and estimate that consumption has fallen by around 10% year on year.

The outlook for June is flat with May, some buyers said, but others expect to still see some uptick next month.

A couple of producers said May and June volumes look healthy, with one expecting to see the stronger trend continuing into July. Another supplier said its demand had picked up by 30% compared with April. It added that it saw no reason to lower prices in June, and stressed its need to recoup margins.

"We are seeing good demand going into June as we have seen in May," the first producer said. "Our month of May will finish with very good volumes.

"It is a shame, as I hear all the time that the market is not picking up and the coatings season is not happening, and yet we are seeing demand from the very same customers that are telling us that the season is not happening. Overall, I have the feeling that June will be a good month and July is likely to follow the same trend."

The second producer said: "I think we are seeing demand pick up. Basically our May demand is 30% higher than April. It's increased despite the weather conditions. I think that demand in June will be about the same as May. We expect good demand for June."

Acrylate esters prices fell by €20-50/tonne ($26-64/tonne) in May on the back of reduced propylene costs.

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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