31 January 2014 19:10 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US January truck acetone contracts settled up by an average of 7 cents/lb ($154/tonne), sources said on Friday, citing upstream pressure and a margin push by producers facing continued poor co-product phenol economics.
The increases took truck prices to a new pre-discount range of 79-83 cents/lb, as assessed by ICIS.
Gains during December and January were said to average a total of 12 cents/lb, though some participants could end up paying the full 15 cents/lb proposed by some sellers over the two-month period.
There continued to be talk of February truck acetone gains of 5-8 cents/lb.
Major US phenol-acetone producers include Axiall, Dow Chemical, Haverhill Chemical, Honeywell, INEOS Phenol, SABIC Innovative Plastics and Shell Chemical.
Meanwhile, in the US January barge acetone market, contract negotiations among some of the principle players continued, with some higher settlements heard and with strong suggestions that the month could see a rare split settlement.
The 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.
The February benzene contract was expected to settle higher.
Propylene spot prices have been largely steady as demand is facing possible downward pressure if prices get too high, especially in the downstream polypropylene (PP) market, sources said. February propylene contracts were initially nominated up by 1 cent/lb.
In economic news, 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.
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