HOUSTON (ICIS)--US barge acetone has initially settled lower for May by 1 cent/lb ($22/tonne), or 1.5%, most major market participants had confirmed by Friday, citing ample supply and softer feedstock.
If the decrease is fully settled by all market participants at a penny lower than the April barge settlement, the May contract will firm at 66.25 cents/lb.
May refinery-grade propylene (RGP) has, so far, softened by 2-3 cents/lb from 60.25 cents/lb earlier in the month. Producers also have been competing for sales of acetone, which some said had lengthened partly in the wake of current maintenance turns at derivative methyl methacrylate (MMA) plants.
Barge acetone is sold largely into the MMA market.
Similar conditions existed during April contract negotiations, sources said, except ample acetone stemmed partly from higher co-product phenol production as those producers geared up for spring phenol turnarounds.
The US barge acetone contract is typically negotiated between three large producers – Axiall, INEOS Phenol and Shell – and the three largest buyers – Dow Chemical, Evonik and Lucite.