Acrylate esters prices rollover and firm on slight cost recovery

16 April 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European April acrylate esters contract prices have rolled over or risen by €10/tonne from the previous month, depending on ester and starting point, sources said on Wednesday.

Acrylate esters include methyl acrylate (methyl-A), ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A), butyl acrylate (butyl-A) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA).

The April feedstock propylene contract price rose by €10/tonne. Despite aiming to improve margins with modest hikes, acrylate esters producers struggled to increase prices as demand is not showing the usual uptick that is normal in April and the market is balanced to long.

Sources said that most prices had rolled over but that there had been a rise in butyl-A prices because of slightly firmer supply-and-demand dynamics for the ester in recent weeks.

Demand was healthy through most of the first quarter and appeared to be a promising indicator, but sources said that buying interest had plateaued since around the end of March.

A buyer said: “Last year we had a disastrous Q1 and Q2 because the weather was a disaster in the first half of the year, so lots of people postponed their house painting. This weather this year gave [the market] a boost.”

Most players are waiting to see whether there will a pick up in consumption levels in May and June.

The buyer added: “But there is uncertainty. Q1 2014 will always look amazing in comparison to Q1 2013. I think Q2 will still be a good quarter, but not as strong as Q1.”

A producer said: “Demand is good. I think we are seeing additional demand because of the season, and I think it's in line with the expectations we have.”

The April propylene contract settled at €1,140/tonne FD (free delivered) NWE (northwest Europe).

Ethyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, methyl acrylate and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate are used to make paints, coatings, textiles, adhesives, polishes and plastics.

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By Helena Strathearn