US December MMA assessed flat on balanced fundamentals

03 January 2014 18:01 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methyl methacrylate (MMA) contract prices have settled flat for December, sources confirmed on Friday, on soft-but-balanced market conditions despite weaker barge acetone pricing in November.

The rollover holds the railcar price range steady at $1.20-1.24/lb ($2,646-2,734/tonne, €1,931-1,996/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

It was the fourth consecutive rollover in the market, but increases are expected in January on upstream pressure from acetone and propylene.

A proposed MMA increase of 7 cents/lb, effective 1 January, surfaced from one major producer in late December.

“I suspect … they are trying to get in front of the huge propylene increases coming which would affect acetone used to make MMA,” a buyer said.

A supply-side source concurred.

“The primary driver for the increase is increasing costs as acetone is forecast to rise dramatically across December and January, as well as other raw materials feeding into MMA,” the source said.

US December propylene contracts settled up by 4 cents/lb, which will help push December-January acetone pricing higher.

January propylene contracts have been initially nominated higher by 11%, partly on stronger spot pricing.

Major US MMA producers include Lucite, Arkema, Dow Chemical and Evonik.

($1 = €0.73)

By Larry Terry