11 February 2014 22:40 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US February maleic anhydride (MA) contracts were assessed at a rollover on Tuesday.
Sources confirmed that February maleic anhydride contracts remained within the published range of 79.7-85.7 cents/lb ($1,757-1,889/tonne) on an FOB (free on board) basis for molten material.
Prices were expected to rise 2-3 cents/lb in mid-January because of surging feedstock butane prices, which had gained 20 cents/gal at that time from the start of the year.
However, butane prices slipped slightly, and MA buyers argued that contract rollovers allowed margins to be passed down the MA chain.
Buyers said that in 2013, MA producers did not lower prices in instances when butane fell, which allowed the sellers to build margins.
Market players said the US MA market is tight because of some production issues for one producer, but that it is not tight enough to justify higher prices.
Additionally, demand is described as steady to slightly higher and is not expected to ramp up until late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter.
Major US MA producers include Ashland, Flint Hills Resources, Huntsman and LANXESS.
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