US January MMA contracts rise on upstream pressure

31 January 2014 16:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contracts increased for January on upstream cost pressure amid balanced conditions, market sources confirmed on Friday.

The increase of 5.50 cents/lb ($121/tonne) was the first hike in domestic MMA contracts in five months. December MMA contracts were previously assessed flat, capping repeated rollovers on soft but stable and balanced conditions.

The gain fell short of the 7 cent/lb increases sought by producers.

The increase moved contract MMA railcar values to a new range of 125.50-129.50 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

In the meantime, a third producer announced plans to increase its February prices.

Evonik said in a customer letter that it would increase its MMA contract price by 6 cents/lb, effective 1 February.

Dow and Lucite earlier proposed February increases of 5 and 6 cents/lb, respectively, with one producer citing pressure from higher production costs.

Acetone prices are increasing in both the large-buyer and solvents markets.

Some downstream numbers, however, were not rising.

Although sales of existing homes rose by 1% in December, ending a three-month slump, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said this week that US pending home sales fell by 8.7% in December from November, the seventh consecutive month that this this key housing-market indicator has declined.

NAR’s chief economist attributed the December downturn to several factors, including disruptive weather, and home prices that are rising faster than incomes.

The US January barge acetone contract remained unsettled, pending further confirmation of final negotiations among the principal players. Two different settlements have surfaced, and both are increases over December.

US MMA producers include Lucite, Dow Chemical, Evonik and Arkema.

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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