Price and market trends: US MMA contracts roll over as Lucite declares force majeure

08 November 2013 10:00  [Source: ICB]

US October methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract values settled flat on 25 October on balanced conditions that threatened to be undone by an unplanned supply outage at a major MMA producer’s Tennessee plant.

Concerns about approaching year-end inventory deadlines dissipated with news of a renewed force majeure (FM) declaration on Friday, 25 October by Lucite.

According to a customer letter, the MMA manufacturer experienced a mechanical failure at its Memphis plant on restart after being forced to curtail production a week earlier on constraints from a key feedstock supplier.

The FM was open ended, and the producer said it would begin to allocate sales as soon as it could rebuild some inventory.

The producer experienced previous raw-material supply problems this past summer.

The rollover held the MMA truck price steady at $1.22-1.26/lb ($2,690-2,778/tonne, €1,937-2,000/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

Domestically, MMA is used largely in paints, adhesives and resins, and also in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) for acrylic sheet applications.

Among feedstock, US barge acetone contract negotiations continued for most participants, but some weakness had surfaced.

The US methanol spot barge price increased sharply for the week on supply issues and heavy buying interest.

But in the US ammonia market, the November benchmark Tampa contract settled down by $10/tonne on increased supply from Trinidad that is not yet being offset by demand, sources said.

Downstream, an indicator of the health of the US construction industry within the next 6-9 months continued its upward trajectory with an increase 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 MMA producers include Lucite, Arkema, Dow Chemical and Evonik.

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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