24 September 2013 23:02 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract values settled flat for September on improved availability that balanced the market after supply constraints in August, sources confirmed on Tuesday.
Stable market conditions prevailed after a force majeure declaration by a major producer last month, yielding no September price-hike nominations and holding truck prices steady from August at $1.22-1.26/lb ($2,690-2,778/tonne, €1,991-2,056/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.
In August, MMA contracts were assessed up by an average of 2 cents/lb, although price-hike initiatives of 5-6 cents/lb were announced.
Buyers said supply is ample, and demand remains essentially flat in architectural coatings, a major downstream market for MMA in the US.
However, an index of future US construction activity rose by 2.1% in August, indicating stronger economic conditions, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said this week. The AIA’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI), a reflection of contracted architectural design services, increased to 53.8 for August from 52.7 in July.
The upturn signals an imminent turnaround in non-residential construction activity, the AIA said, although the strength of the architectural coatings market is typically linked to the construction of single-family homes.
Among feedstock, September barge acetone talks were well underway, but only one buy-side settlement was confirmed slightly lower so far, and US methanol spot barge prices inched higher during the week.
Major US MMA producers include Lucite, Arkema, Dow Chemical and Evonik.
($1 = €0.74)
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