US September acrylates settle flat to marginally higher

26 September 2013 23:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylic acid and acrylate esters freely negotiated contract values settled flat to nominally stronger for September as feedstock pressure pushed up some prices, but not by the magnitude sought by most producers.

There was some counterbalancing pressure from a market described by sources as mostly soft, though demand was said to have ranged from flat to slightly stronger during the month.

Although two producers said they achieved some gains in September, they did not specify the level of increases.

Posted negotiated prices for glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA) were assessed flat on market consensus from customers taking volumes of 3m-6m lbs/year.

The remaining acrylate esters were assessed up by 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne, €16/tonne) on confirmation from some buyers. The increase for methyl acrylate (methyl-A), for example, took that September range to $1.07-1.12/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

However, customers with contracts tied to a propylene formula saw broad gains of 3-4 cents/lb for September, based on the 5 cent/lb gain in August chemical-grade propylene (CGP).

The lack of momentum seen in September’s negotiated prices further supported talk that no October initiatives were likely, especially in view of flat September propylene contract values.

One customer in the northeast US described the market as a “yawner. It’s the summer doldrums,” the buyer said, “only it isn’t summer weather any more.”

Downstream, US sales of new single-family homes rose by 7.9% in August from July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, a gain that in part offsets the sharp 13.4% decline in one-family housing construction seen in July.

However, US pending home sales fell slightly in August from July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which said higher interest rates and rising property prices chilled prospective purchases for the third straight month.

Among other esters feedstock, customers continued to mull over proposed October increases of 2 cents/lb in the oxo-alcohols n-butanol (NBA) and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) markets amid steady conditions.

Major US acrylates producers include Dow, Arkema and BASF.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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