Asian MMA firmer after 8 weeks; heavy turnarounds to support

Author: Li Li Chng

2020/09/14

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Asia’s methyl methacrylate (MMA) spot prices rose for the first time after holding stable for eight weeks, due to tight supply, firmer feedstock and improved sentiment, tracking a bullish China domestic market.

The heavy turnaround period in Asia from August to November will likely provide support to the market.

In the week ended 11 September, MMA prices for bulk parcels of 500 tonnes and above were at $1,380-1,420/tonne CFR (cost & freight) southeast (SE) Asia, up $20/tonne from the previous week, according to ICIS data.

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Spot supply was tight on recent production cuts and ongoing and upcoming turnarounds in the region.

Bulk spot supply was scarce, though limited small parcels were available.

“The irony is it is easier to get small volume in isotanks now rather than bulk… [as] it is easier for producer to squeeze out smaller volume,” said a trader.

A northeast Asian polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) producer had to cut production rates on shortage of feedstock MMA.

Feedstock acetone prices rose in the last five weeks, increasing cost pressure for producers who were reluctant to sell at a loss, when their supply is tight.

In the week ended 11 September, China’s domestic prices rose significantly by an average of CNY950/tonne week on week, on tight supply and firm acetone prices, lifting the market sentiment in wider Asia.

The strong demand seen previously for transparent protective sheets amid the coronavirus pandemic has tapered off in recent months.

Focus article by Li Li Chng