Price and market trends: US phthalic anhydride contracts flat

14 February 2014 00:00 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US phthalic anhydride (PA) contract prices for February were steady on the back of a rollover in the feedstock orthoxylene (OX) contract price in January, market sources said on 4 February.

February PA ranges were unchanged from January at 76-81 cents/lb ($1,675-1,786/tonne) free on board (FOB) molten and 77-84 cents/lb delivered (DEL) flake, sources confirmed.

Monthly US PA contract prices typically settle on the delta of the previous month’s OX contract.

OX pricing has been stable since November, and this consistency has taken out some of the volatility in PA demand, a market source said.

February is expected to be a typical month for demand, as the higher-than-expected demand seen by the end of January was ­attributed to re-stocking after 2013 end-year drawdowns for inventory purposes, a market participant said.

Another participant expects February to stick to seasonal norms with nothing out of the ordinary, while yet another participant is seeing PA remain very steady. Overall, PA has had a good start to the year, sources said.

The peak season for demand is expected to start in March and generally run through June, but depending on how the downstream construction industry behaves, the peak season could last longer.

By Feliza Mirasol