The Methyl methacrylate (MMA) market is covered by our network of ICIS reporters based locally in Asia, Europe and the US on a weekly basis. Our universally trusted, unbiased price assessments cover spot in Asia, contract and spot in Europe and contract in the US.
Market commentary includes regional updates, upstream news, graphs, economic impacts and outlooks where applicable. This reliable news and analysis will help give you the tools needed to make informed business decisions.
Updated to Q1 2019
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) supply in Asia rose in Q1 amid mounting stockpiles. Some facilities capped their operating rates or stopped production, while other units restarted after scheduled turnarounds. More spot volumes were available as contract discussions occurred. In addition, limited cargoes were shipped towards the US and Europe. This buildup was partially balanced by a prolonged shutdown at a Saudi Arabian plant lasting several months due to unexpected glitches.
MMA demand in Asia fell fairly short in Q1 2019, as jitters over the US-China trade war linger even after the traditional February lull. Spot consumers procured on a need-to basis and targeted shorter delivery periods, to minimise costs on a price downtrend. Intense competition persisted in downstream sectors, with cheaper end-products from China saturating the Asian markets. Feedstock prices in China stood the lowest globally, giving Chinese players an edge over their Asian counterparts.
European methyl methacrylate (MMA) supply lengthened in the first quarter, with production running well and demand lower than expected. Evonik ran both of its German plants at 80%, with the weaker demand not requiring full output. There was also a constant stream of imports, with material readily available from Asia and the Middle East. Excess supply continues to put pressure on prices that are correcting from historic highs in late 2018.
Demand remains weak in the European MMA market, with automotive consistently lower causing wider concerns. Coatings demand traditionally starts to increase in March; however, demand remained stable and below expectations at the end of the first quarter. There remains some hand-to-mouth buying as consumers continue to pursue lower prices, with savvy purchasing strategies expected to intensify going into the next round of quarterly contract talks.
The supply of the US methyl methacrylate (MMA) market was balanced. Producers did not have major production issues until late in the quarter, which have not greatly impacted supply. Evonik sold their MMA arm in the first quarter to investment firm Advent International, but it did not impact supply.
Demand in the US methyl methacrylate (MMA) market is slightly depressed following a winter that was colder than expected and a slight decrease in downstream polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) demand following a drop in smartphone sales. The drop off in demand in the winter is typical for the MMA market and is not having a significant impact.
We offer the following regional Methyl methacrylate analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Methyl methacrylate marketplace.
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Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) is polymerised to form PMMA (also known as plexiglass), lubricant viscosity modifiers, emulsions, dispersions and coatings.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is a colourless, volatile, flammable liquid with an ester-like odour. It is slightly soluble in water but soluble in most organic solvents. It is readily polymerised by light, heat, ionising radiation and catalysts. Commercial products may contain hydroquinone methyl ether or similar polymerisation inhibitors.
Nearly all MMA is polymerised to make homopolymers and copolymers, the largest application being the casting, moulding or extrusion of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or modified polymers.
A major application of MMA polymers and copolymers is in surface coatings and impregnation resins to give colour fastness and weather-resistance properties to latex paints, lacquer resins and stoving enamels. For example, exterior latex paint is based on emulsions containing MMA while other uses include industrial finishes, and metal and foil coatings.