US May MMA contract weakness tempered by snug supply

31 May 2013 19:24  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices softened again for May on weaker upstream values, but reductions were limited by snug supply, sources confirmed on Friday.

MMA prices for May were assessed down by an average of 2 cents/lb ($44/tonne, €34/tonne) on market consensus, though some flat settlements were heard. The reductions came on competitive pressure and because of upstream pressure from sharply weaker April barge acetone, sources said.

The decline took the May railcar range to $1.18-1.22/lb, and the truck range slipped to $1.20-1.24/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

The large-buyer acetone contract fell by 7.5 cents/lb for April, but MMA was said to be generally tighter this week, so price reductions were limited for most domestic customers.

Although cheaper April raw materials have precluded any significant MMA price movement recently, sources said the market appears to be stabilising and even improving.

Housing numbers are increasing, some sources noted, along with demand for coatings, but ongoing storms and adverse weather patterns have stymied typically stronger seasonal demand.

US pending home sales rose slightly in April from March, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The 0.3% increase indicated that the nation’s housing market continues to improve, if only by razor-thin margins. However, pending sales have been above year-ago levels for the past 24 months.

Major US MMA producers include Arkema, Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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