Price and market trends: US May acrylates flat on mixed economic signals

06 June 2014 10:07 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US acrylic acid and acrylate esters freely negotiated contract prices were assessed flat for May on market consensus on 28 May, amid conflicting economic signals.

With the domestic acrylates market, there is not only ongoing talk of incremental demand improvement but also new statistical evidence that economic recovery may be stalling. Sources on both sides of the market said there was no broad change in market pricing over the past two months, although buyers and sellers reported some sporadic weakness averaging 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne) for one or two of the products. The rollover, however, held glacial acrylic acid (GAA) prices, for example, flat at $1.09-1.13/lb ($2,403-2,491/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

A couple of suppliers suggested that the June acrylates market likely will have enough momentum from demand to hold prices steady. A buyer agreed. “I think June prices will remain flat,” the customer said. “Half a cent down on [May] propylene is not enough to get anyone excited, and it looks like American Acryl will not be back up until early June. When they are back up you will likely see price softening.” Other buyers felt weaker June pricing was likely, with one asserting that “suppliers are playing the card of demand recovery, but the acrylates market is still balanced to long.”

Economic concerns persist as new statistics indicate the housing recovery may have stalled. A key federal mortgage agency said that home sales have flat-lined over the last three months and the sector is performing only half as well as it was a year ago.

By Larry Terry