European acrylic acid (AA) and acrylate esters May contract prices are expected to remain stable or increase on the back of the May feedstock propylene contract price, depending on the starting point, sources said on 14 May.
Producers continue to seek to improve margins, while buyers are purchasing on a hand-to-mouth basis, and neither side is keen to hold more inventory than is needed, amid economic and geopolitical uncertainty.
The propylene contract price rose by €10/tonne from April.
Acrylate esters sources indicated that prices are seeing little change from last month, but that values were either steady or rising. Increases so far have been largely reflective of the feedstock hike.
May demand is flat with April. This is uncharacteristic of the typical seasonal demand pattern, which usually shows a distinct uptick from March as end-use consumption from the coatings and construction sectors reaches its peak.
The market saw a rise in demand in February and the first half of March, but buying interest has since levelled out. Overall demand in the past four months has improved, but players along the supply chain describe offtake as somewhat disappointing for the time of year. Market participants are now looking to see how June demand will develop. It is expected to remain at least in line with May for the next couple of months.
May contract prices remain under negotiation and were likely to conclude by the week ending 25 May.