LONDON (ICIS)--Europe March methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices have rolled over from the previous month on steady supply and demand fundamentals, as well as stable feedstock costs, sources said on Friday.
March MMA contract prices are at €1,780-1,810/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).
“I don't see any prices that are higher yet,” a buyer said. “Maybe in April [they will increase]. March is a rollover.”
Demand - most notably from the coatings and construction sectors - is showing signs of gradual improvement. Sentiment is up versus February, supported by positive economic data and warmer weather than was seen in March last year.
The buyer added: “Demand looks to be improving. The weather is good, so everyone is happy. It’s good for the exterior, DIY… many people are starting to paint their houses. But it is similar to last year. We don’t see a pick up yet, but it might be [up] in the next few months.”
Some buyers are expecting their demand to increase in April versus March, while a couple of buyers do not expect the coatings season to get underway until after the Easter holidays.
One producer said: “Everyone is more positive for 2014. We see a good level of demand in our orders. The situation is expected to tighten. In terms of price there is a clear pressure upward. The question is the extent and when.”
There is sufficient material on the market to meet buying requirements.
While there are a few global turnarounds in place, most buyers expect the market to remain balanced in the coming weeks.
“It’s not a problem to get extra volume,” the buyer said. “I don’t see it tightening up yet. It is now very long. If demand picks up we will go to a balanced position, but we will not be hit by a major shortage in the market. There is always a coatings season so they, the European suppliers, plan accordingly. There's a lot of planning ahead for these kinds of outages and demand is not much better than last year.”
Spot prices are at €1,620-1,650/tonne FD NWE.
The producer added: “It is too early to say for April, but it’s clear there is upward price pressure.”
Second-quarter contract price targets are expected to emerge next week. First-quarter MMA contract prices settled at a decrease.
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