Price and market trends: US acrylates settle mostly flat

08 May 2014 17:24 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US acrylic acid and acrylate esters freely-negotiated contract prices settled broadly flat for April, sources confirmed on 30 April, although some weakness was heard during the month.

Although most market sources reported steady pricing among contracts not tied to propylene formulas, a couple of customers received reductions of 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne) on glacial acrylic acid (GAA) and other products.

Others, however, saw no price movement despite the 1.5 cent/lb drop in March feedstock chemical-grade propylene (CGP). The rollover holds glacial acrylic acid prices, for example, flat at $1.09-1.13/lb ($2,403-2,491/tonne), as assessed by ICIS.

Buyers attributed overall April price stability to ample acrylates supply and delayed or pent-up demand stemming from an uncertain economy and harsh winter weather that has only recently appeared to be easing.

Price stability also was partly attributed to a planned six-week outage at the American Acryl acrylic acid plant in Bayport near Houston, which was expected to begin in early May.

Housing market
In the downstream housing and construction market, US sales of new single-family homes fell sharply in March, the Commerce Department said, down by 14.5% from February and 13.3% lower than in March of last year in a downturn that worries home builders. NAHB chief economist David Crowe said the March number was lower than expected, but that the two-month trend downward was the larger concern, adding that home sales are still inhibited by strict lending policies among mortgage bankers.

Also, home prices continue to rise, pricing more and more would-be home buyers out of the market, he added.

By Larry Terry