Price and market trends: US November maleic anhydride contracts settle at rollover

22 November 2013 10:01 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US November maleic anhydride (MA) contracts rolled over on steady supply/demand balances and stable feedstock costs, sources said on 12 November.

The rollover puts US November MA contracts at 79.7-85.7 cents/lb ($1,757-1,889/tonne, €1,318-1,417/tonne) for molten material on an FOB (free on board) basis.

Sources said the biggest reason for the rollover was that feedstock butane prices did not move up in November, which they ­typically do.

“It was interesting how everything went down,” an MA producer said. “October butane went up, but November then ran below October.”

US butane prices through the first two weeks of November were down by 6 cents/gal from the first two weeks in October.

Buyers and sellers said that the lagging butane prices were unusual, as demand is typically strong at the end of the year for heating uses.

A buyer said that MA remains overpriced relative to butane because of price movements in MA earlier in the year.

“MA didn’t come down with butane earlier this year,” the buyer said. “So now we’re starting to get some price relief.”

Market players said the supply/demand situation remains balanced but could move tighter if demand returns at the start of 2014.

Major MA producers include Ashland, Flint Hills Resources, Huntsman and LANXESS.

By John Dietrich