Dow to lift US VAM force majeure by end of August − customers

26 August 2014 21:12 Source:ICIS News

Dow to lift US VAM force majeure by end of August − customersHOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical will lift its force majeure on vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) at the end of this month - which would mean this week - and go to 100% sales control in September, VAM buyers said on Tuesday.

A Dow executive did not return a phone call and email seeking comment.

Dow issued the force majeure in early July because of a tube leak in a reactor.

Two other US VAM producers - LyondellBasell and DuPont (now Kuraray) have been on force majeure since March. DuPont has sold its VAM plant and business to Kuraray.

Celanese is the only US producer that has not declared force majeure this year.

US producers say they have been hit by severe supply tightening because of plant closures in Europe in late 2013 and outages and coinciding maintenance turnarounds at American plants earlier this year.

There are more turnarounds coming in September and October, with maintenance scheduled by Celanese and Kuraray in September and by LyondellBasell in October.

Last week, Dow raised VAM prices by $200/tonne globally, citing increased demand and its force majeure in the US.

Buyers say some producers have offered material at almost $2,000/tonne, but there are no reports yet of any customers paying that price. The VAM free on board (FOB) export range remained at $1,700-1,900/tonne as assessed by ICIS.

The following shows US VAM export prices.

US VAM export prices

By Lane Kelley