Price and market trends: US November acrylates contract values broadly flat

06 December 2013 09:53 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US acrylates contract values broadly flat

US November acrylic acid and acrylate esters freely negotiated contract values settled broadly flat from October, although a couple of concessions surfaced during the month, sources said on 26 November. The rollover holds the glacial acrylic acid contract $1.08-1.12/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

Weaker October feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP) – down by 2.5 cents/lb ($55/tonne, €41/tonne) – pushed acrylates formula pricing down and exerted pressure on negotiated contracts, but most buyers said prices were unchanged from October.

However, a buyer said it received 1-2 cent/lb reductions on its purchase of glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and methyl acrylate (methyl-A).

A producer conceded that demand is slowing and said that although buyers had pressed for reductions on weaker propylene, it was able to hold its acrylates pricing firm for now. Buyers also acknowledged that conditions were softening. No production or transportation problems were heard that week, and spot export price ranges were unchanged.

US November propylene contracts recently settled down by 1 cent/lb, indicating likely acrylates weakness in December, especially as the market continues to weaken.

Downstream, US pending home sales fell marginally in October from September, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Although the decline was relatively slight – just 0.6% – it was the fifth straight monthly downturn amid declining housing affordability.

Home buying has become less affordable for many as the on-and-off housing recovery has driven property prices up.

Major US/North American acrylic acid and acrylate esters producers include Dow Chemical, Arkema and BASF.

By Larry Terry