The US January barge acetone contract settled up on 14 February, later than usual and in a rare split.
The split settlement took the January contract to a range of 68.5-70 cents/lb ($1,510-1,543/tonne), pushed up by a combination of raw materials pressure and supply tightness.
The January range is an increase of 3.5-5.0 cents/lb over the December barge settlement of 65 cents/lb.
The last split in the large-volume barge market contract occurred in October 2010, when the range was 40.00-42.50 cents/lb.
The top end of the range appeared to have settled first, and although some sources kept their negotiated numbers unusually quiet, the available consensus was that the primary settlements among the major buyers and sellers were either at the top or the bottom of the range.
The contract historically settles at a single number, but January talks were atypically protracted and opaque.
In the US truck acetone market, buyer generally anticipated potential settlements at a fraction of nominated February initiatives that averaged 5 cents/lb, but the outcome of talks remained uncertain.
Sources cited weakening propylene for slower February momentum in the truck market.
Previously, truck contracts were assessed up by an average of 7 cents/lb for January, with sources attributing the hikes to upstream pressure and margin push by producers, sources said, in view of phenol’s poor economics.