26 July 2013 23:42 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Lucite has declared force majeure (FM) on its methyl methacrylate (MMA) production in Memphis, Tennessee, the company confirmed on Friday.
The declaration followed the second unplanned outage in as many weeks from one of the company’s raw materials suppliers. Lucite ceased shipments from Memphis late this week.
The company said it hopes to begin supplying customers again from the site during the week of 5 August, albeit at some level of sales allocation until inventory has returned to normal levels.
After the supplier’s first feedstock-supply interruption two weeks ago, Lucite extended its MMA delivery lead times based on inventory constraints.
Lead times of about two days for truck delivery and about a week for railcar transit will likely stretch temporarily to 10 days for truck and about two weeks for rail, a source suggested.
Domestically, MMA is used largely in paints, adhesives and resins, and also in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) for acrylic sheet applications.
A market source said customers are actively seeking material in a now tight market that was previously balanced to snug.
“It's a fairly significant change in the MMA market in North America,” another market source said.
In a letter to customers, Lucite said it would take all necessary measure to mitigate any strain on its customers.
Other producers said they are fielding calls for supply, but there is little or none to be had for non-contract customers, a seller said.
July MMA contract values generally rolled over on previously snug supply and healthy demand, given the lack of a July increase initiative from a major producer. Others sellers said they achieved nominal increases for July.
“But at this point,” one seller said, “I think people are more concerned about if they can get MMA than how much they pay for it.”
Other US MMA suppliers include Evonik, Dow Chemical and Arkema.
($1 = €0.75)
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