US October truck acetone contract values soften

28 October 2013 21:07  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US truck acetone contract prices slipped by an average of 3 cents/lb ($66/tonne, €48/tonne) for October, potentially reaching a floor, some sources said on Monday.

The decline took the new range to 71-74 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

“Truck values have certainly slipped as many scramble to compete for market share,” a trader said, suggesting that the low end of the current range could be the pricing floor.

Another market source said that besides prices being driven partly by weaker October feedstock benzene values, “people are getting serious about meeting year-end inventory goals”.

In the US barge acetone market, contract negotiations continued for most participants, but some weakness had begun to surface.

The September truck acetone contract previously settled flat, while last month’s barge contract weakened by 1.25 cents/lb on some pressure from weaker refinery-grade propylene (RGP).

Broadly, the market continued balanced to snug, most sources said, with co-product phenol operating rates still at 65-70% on poor demand and practically no export market.

Downstream, however, an indicator of the health of the US construction industry within the next 6-9 months increased again in September.

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Architectural Billings Index (ABI) increased to 54.3, up from 53.8 in August. Any ABI score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for architectural design services.

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

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

($1 = €0.72)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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