Europe acrylate esters prices fall on reduced propylene costs

29 November 2013 09:36 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

European November acrylate esters contract prices have fallen by €30/tonne ($41/tonne) from the previous month, on lower feedstock propylene costs, sources said on 20 November.

Acrylate esters include methyl acrylate (methyl-A), ethyl acrylate (ethyl-A), butyl acrylate (butyl-A) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA).

“It is a very quiet month,” a buyer said. “People are trying to destock for the holiday period and are just taking enough [material] to keep covered.”

“The market is long,” another buyer said. “For November, we see a downtrend.” A producer said: “Butyl-A has not seen a drastic [price] reduction as demand remains okay and we have seen reductions in line with the propylene drop.”

It added that it had seen a bit more buyer-aggression for decreases on 2-EHA, ethyl-A and methyl-A, because of weaker demand compared with that for butyl-A and acrylic acid (AA).

Another producer said: “We see demand going down, that’s pretty clear.” Supply constraints have eased in recent weeks. Sales control on butyl-A at Germany’s BASF was lifted at the end of October, as expected by the market. The company had implemented force majeure in June because of production problems at its Ludwigshafen facility. It ended about a week later and sales control was put in place.

Arkema lifted its force majeure on AA and butyl-A from its Carling facility in France in October, and operations are back to normal. The producer had declared force majeure earlier in October because of a mechanical failure.

Demand is steady to soft, depending on source and application, and largely in line with expectations for the time of year as players are now looking to reduce working capital. Spot prices are lower this week, on softer supply/demand dynamics and decreased propylene costs, sources said.

AA and its esters are used in the manufacture of various plastics, coatings, adhesives and elastomers, floor polishes and paints.

By Helena Strathearn