Eur Feb acrylate esters prices steady to firm despite C3 rollover

19 February 2014 23:59 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--European February acrylate esters contract prices have rolled over or risen by €10/tonne from the previous month, depending on ester and starting point, sources said on Wednesday.

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

The February feedstock propylene contract price rolled over, but acrylates producers managed to claw back some of the margin that has eroded over the past year.

“There is a huge reluctance to take any increase whatsoever, but we’re on the cusp of increases," a producer said, adding that discussions were tough. "For February, it’s been a battle. We have generally seen increases and rollovers."

One producer that also secured price hikes said: “Demand seems to be very strong for this time of year. ... We started the month with customers requesting decreases, but we stayed firm in our position.”

A buyer said that it had agreed to a small decrease. “There is demand, but it's not breaking any records. The paint season is still to start and that's when demand will increase quite substantially.”

Demand from the coatings, adhesives and sealants sectors is proving steady for this time of year. The market is viewed as balanced to long, depending upon the source.

“It's carefully balanced,” the first producer said. "If demand picks up in March, I think we're going to see a move towards a tighter market, but even with normal demand it would be fair to say that producers and suppliers will have to manage supply carefully.”

It is not yet clear what direction March pricing will take. Most acrylate market participants are keeping a close eye on March propylene discussions as an indication.

Another producer said: “From what I hear, I would expect March to be a bit short. And that is the moment to start being a bit more aggressive [in pricing].”

Acrylic acid (AA) and its esters are principally propylene derivatives.

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By Helena Strathearn