Price and market trends: US maleic anhydride contracts flat

27 June 2014 09:43 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

US June maleic anhydride (MA) contracts settled at a rollover for the second consecutive month, sources said on 17 June.

The rollover puts June contracts at 82.7-88.7 cents/lb ($1,823-1,955/tonne) for molten material on an FOB (free on board) basis.

Sources said the rollover was driven by a tight market countering weaker feedstock costs.

“Supply is tight, everyone is having problems,” a producer said. “But there’s no way to increase prices with where butane is.”

US MA supply is tight because of ongoing production issues at several facilities, as well as low inventories from the first and second quarters.

The supply tightness has removed almost all spot material from the market, sources said, although buyers are interested.

The market is also tight because demand has been strong, owing to growth in the construction and automotive industries.

Unsaturated polyester resins (UPR), a key downstream segment for MA, have been strong, owing to low costs in several other feedstocks, giving UPR producers robust margins.

Feedstock butane prices have been low, sources said, which has allowed MA producers to keep margins healthy and prevented MA prices from climbing.

By John Dietrich