Europe butyl acrylate spot prices rise on supply constraints

26 June 2013 17:31  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--European butyl acrylate (butyl-A) spot prices rose by €30-50/tonne ($39-66/tonne) this week from last week's prices, as consumers seek to secure July volumes, amid availability constraints, sources said on Wednesday.

Butyl-A spot prices are at €1,550-1,630/tonne FD (free delivered).

BASF lifted force majeure on butyl-A production from its Ludwigshafen facility on 21 June, and sales control will remain in place until further notice, a source from the company confirmed.

“We are able to fulfil our contractual obligations, but no more,” the source added.

BASF has the capacity to produce 110,000 tonnes/year of butyl-A from its Ludwigshafen facility in Germany.

Some buyers and sellers said the butyl-A market had moved from a balanced-to-long position to balanced, while a couple of sellers said the market would be snug in July.

Dow Chemical will begin a four-week turnaround at its acrylic acid (AA) plant at Boehlen in Germany from the middle of July. The outage will also affect its butyl-A production. The facility has an annual AA capacity of 80,000 tonnes/year, and can produce 40,000 tonnes/year of butyl-A.

Buyers are covered for June, and most are confident that they will be able to secure their required volumes in July. Demand is stable and is expected to remain so into July.

Consumers said the market would be able to cope as demand will begin to taper off at the end of July as the holiday season approaches, and that Dow will have been building stocks to prepare for the outage.

However, sellers said they were largely sold out until the end of July. One trader has only emergency trucks available for July delivery, and while it sees some prices now in the mid-to-high €1,500s/tonne FD, it said July prices would be well above €1,600/tonne FD.

Some buyers said the effect of BASF's force majeure on the market had so far been brief as it had been short-lived and demand is not particularly strong.

One producer said July butyl-A spot prices will move above €1,700/tonne FD.

“I see the market tightening on esters in general and on butyl-A in particular,” the producer said. “We are receiving several enquiries and prices are moving up. I believe we will see a major increase for July and spot prices will be above €1,700/tonne on butyl-A. Other molecules might behave slightly differently, but I see they are also trending upwards.”

($1 = €0.76)

By: Helena Strathearn
+44 208 652 3214

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