Maleic anhydride Prices, markets & analysis
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Maleic anhydride Europe Transcript
Maleic anhydride or MA has two feedstocks n-butane and benzene. In Europe plants are predominantly based on n-butane, but outside of Europe, the main feedstock is benzene.
MA is used in a wide variety of applications, but its major use is in the unsaturated polyester resins market. That accounts for over 50% of all MA usage. UPRs are use in construction, automotive and marine applications.
The key price drivers for MA are supply and demand and feedstock costs.
Maleic anhydride is imported but not in large quantities. Solid imports from Asia are the most common. Liquid imports are rare, because solid temperature controls make shipping logistically difficult. However, some liquid material does enter the European market from America.
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European maleic anhydride (MA) Q1 contract prices were rolled over from the fourth quarter. Q1 2014 contracts were assessed by ICIS in a pre-discounted range of €1,750-1,850/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe). Modest increases were heard in some cases.
Producers emphasised that feedstock n-butane costs had risen substantially, but said they were unable to pass the higher costs onto customers because the MA market was balanced, and winter is typically a low-demand season for derivatives such as unsaturated polyester resins (UPR).
Spot prices were largely stable during the first quarter of 2014, with only a modest decline in liquid MA prices being seen in January. Sentiment was supported toward the end of the first quarter by the approach of the traditional high-demand season. However, availability remained good, in spite of stronger macroeconomic indicators and an unusually warm winter.
Liquid MA spot prices decreased from €1,540-1,620/tonne FD NWE in early January to €1,500-1,600/tonne by late March. Spot prices for MA flakes were unchanged at €1,740-1,780/tonne throughout the first quarter.
Updated to Q1 2014
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