HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI) markets remain firm at the end of March after increases totalling 6 cents/lb were implemented in the first quarter.
A 4 cent/lb hike for MDI was assessed on 26 March, following an earlier 2 cent/lb increase, totalling a 6 cent/lb boost for the quarter driven by high feedstock benzene costs.
Despite recent softening of benzene spot prices, isocyanate industry participants noted that benzene rose above $5/gal for February contracts, providing major support to MDI producers’ increase proposals.
Demand for downstream polyurethane (PU) products in March was gauged as softer than expected, according to sources, possibly because of the extended harsh winter weather. Construction activity, however, is expected to improve gradually during the spring and summer, according to input from industry participants heading into this year’s International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).
Crude MDI prices after the increases are assessed at $1.39-1.54/lb DEL (delivered) in bulk.
US MDI suppliers are Bayer MaterialScience, BASF, Dow Chemical and Huntsman.
Hosted by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the IPC takes place 30 March-1 April in San Antonio, Texas.