OUTLOOK '14: US etac, butac activity to rebound for coatings season

26 December 2013 22:00 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US ethyl acetate (etac) and butyl acetate (butac) markets – which are ending 2013 somewhat quiet and flat – could see quite a bit of activity the first quarter of 2014.

“January will be a zoo,” an etac source said. “Everyone is watching orders in December, and no one will want to have too much material on their books. As soon as people come back in January, in that January 2 to 7 period, those four business days, you’ll see all those replenishment orders being made.”

Most of the etac buying during the first quarter of 2014 will be to replace orders not made in December, and to gear up for the paints and coatings season. Ethyl acetate is used in paints and coatings, and the construction season often drives demand.

“The first quarter in 2013 was slower than people expected,” one etac source said. “The construction season started slower than usual. I would think the first quarter in 2014 would be much stronger than the first quarter of 2013 based on the final two quarters of business this year. It’s normal to have a slower final two quarters of the year, and a very strong first quarter of the following year.”

Prices for US butyl acetate (butac) could also see an upswing during the first of the year, sources said.

Recent butac price increases could take hold during the first quarter of 2014.

Both Oxea and Dow Chemical sought 8 cent/lb ($176/tonne) increases for butac. Sentiment in the market was that the moves were due to recent increases in propylene, which settled at a 4 cent/lb increase in December.

Other sources, however, doubt that the full butac increases will be implemented, and say that a more likely scenario for the first quarter of 2014 would be a 4-cent increase in January followed by another 3- or 4-cent increase in February.

US etac, butac activity to rebound for coatings season

By Andrew Guy Jr