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Updated to Q1 2017
US maleic anhydride (MA) contract prices moved higher during the first quarter of 2017 as sharply higher butane costs pressured the market.
Butane pries tend to rise during winter due to its use as an octane component in winter gasoline blends and its ability to be used for home heating. However, strong demand for butane exports pushed its cost up higher than is typical for a winter season.
Slightly long supply for MA, with good availability and no production issues during the quarter, helped offset some of the pressure of the higher feedstock. MA contract prices increased an average of 8 cents/lb ($176/tonne) throughout the first quarter.
Late in the quarter, butane costs began falling as fuel blenders transitioned to summer gasolines which use less volatile octane components. With the dropping feedstock costs, further increases which had been proposed for MA prices in mid-March and later are unlikely to be accepted in the market.
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ICIS price assessments are based on information gathered from a wide cross-section of the market, comprising consumers, producers, traders and distributors from more than 250 reporters world-wide. Confirmed deals, verified by both buyer and seller, provide the foundation of our price assessments.
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