Price and market trends: Buyers critical of Dow US VAM hike

26 July 2013 08:45  [Source: ICB]

US-based Dow Chemical's proposal to raise US vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) prices by 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €51/tonne) puzzled buyers, most of whom said it made no sense considering the recent drop in a key feedstock.

In a customer letter dated 16 July, Dow said the increase was effective immediately but did not give a reason. The hike applies only to VAM in North America.

 
A buyer cited the recent three-month settlement in ethylene, which was a 2.5 cent/lb decline from the previous settlement, as a reason for doubt.

"I don't get this one," the buyer said. "They aren't called the Callous Dowboys for nothing."

NOT THE FIRST TIME
VAM buyers in the week ended 12 July criticised a similar nomination by Celanese, saying demand was not strong enough to support a hike.

VAM spot FOB export prices held steady during the week ended 12 July at $940-1040/tonne.

Besides ethylene, another VAM feedstock - acetic acid - dropped $25-50/tonne on the restart of a Celanese plant in Clear Lake, Texas, that had been down for repairs following a maintenance turnaround.

"It makes no sense," another buyer said of the Dow nomination.

Major VAM producers in the US besides Dow include Celanese, DuPont and LyondellBasell.


By: Lane Kelley
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