US September barge acetone contract weakens, truck values flat

27 September 2013 23:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US September barge acetone settled marginally lower on generally softer refinery-grade propylene (RGP) and stable-but-middling market conditions, while truck contract values were steady, sources said on Friday.

The large-buyer acetone contract settled down by 1.25 cents/lb ($28/tonne, €21/tonne), taking the September barge price to 65.25 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

The US barge acetone contract is typically negotiated between three large producers – Georgia Gulf, INEOS Phenol and Shell – and the three largest buyers – Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.

Although feedstock RGP rebounded slightly this week, it remained at diminished levels during most of the month.

Sources said feedstock benzene spot prices, which are below the September contract of $4.40/gal, could lead to a slight decline in the October benzene contract.

In the US truck market, the September contract range was assessed flat from August at 74-77 cts/lb on stable market demand and the absence of price-hike initiatives within the solvents markets.

Major US phenol-acetone producers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.

Though acetone supply and demand was recently said to be more balanced despite phenol operating rates still heard mostly in the range of 65-70%, acetone sales controls of 100% continue in effect through the end of the month from an acetone supplier to the solvents market.

Downstream, US new single-family homes sales 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.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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