US spot epoxy market stays balanced on aggressive imports

16 July 2013 17:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Softer-than-expected demand and aggressive selling by importers has kept the US spot epoxy resin market balanced for almost two months, sources said on Tuesday.

US spot prices for epoxy resins were assessed by ICIS at $1.35-1.40/lb ($2,976-3,086/tonne, €2,292-2,376/tonne) on a DEL bulk (delivered in bulk) basis for the seventh consecutive week.

Buyers and traders confirmed the market stability, saying that imported spot material remains a preferred option for many.

“We don’t deal with anything domestic,” a buyer said. “We’re not unhappy with the spot pricing.”

Most spot material is being done at a 9-12 cent/lb discount to US domestic contract product, which is assessed by ICIS at $1.44-1.52/lb DEL bulk.

The gap is mostly attributed to cheaper feedstock costs overseas and weak demand in Asia and Europe.

Buyers said that overseas producers are eager to move material and have targeted the US market because of the gap.

However, there is talk that US producers are starting to come off their prices in order to recoup some lost market share and volume.

“The US guys made more material than they could sell,” a buyer said. “They were counting on demand that hasn’t happened.”

One US buyer said it is receiving spot material from domestic producers in the $1.36-1.38/lb level on a DEL bulk basis, largely flat with imported material.

Sources said that overseas sellers are unlikely to lower their prices unless the gap between their cargoes and domestic contract material narrows to 5-6 cents/lb.

However, US producers said that they cannot lower prices much more in August and September unless feedstock benzene and propylene costs come down.

Major US producers of epoxy resins include Dow Chemical, Huntsman and Momentive.

($1 = €0.77)

By: John Dietrich

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