US August acrylates settle at rollovers on soft fundamentals

27 August 2014 22:45 Source:ICIS News

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US acrylic acid and acrylates esters free-market prices settled flat for August despite price-hike efforts of 4-6 cents/lb ($88-132/tonne), sources said on Wednesday.

The rollover holds the acrylic acid contract price in a range of $1.05-1.09/lb, as assessed by ICIS.

Most sources said the major limiting factors were flat July chemical-grade propylene (CGP) and acrylates supply that continues to outpace stable demand.

Although two of the three major producers pursued August acrylates increases, most customers characterised those efforts as attempts to get ahead of US August propylene increases that were originally proposed higher by 6.0-6.5 cents/lb.

The propylene initiatives eventually weakened, and the August propylene contracts fully settled up by 5 cents/lb, rising for the first time since January.

In the meantime, two 1 September acrylates initiatives in a range of 4-6 cents/lb ($88-132/tonne) surfaced, and a third major US producer said it likely would roll its August initiatives into a September push.

With the sharp gain in August CGP, and tightening within the US oxo-alcohols n-butanol (NBA) and 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) markets, buyers and sellers anticipate some gains in September acrylates.

Downstream, US new single-family home sales fell by 2.4% in July while existing home sales increased by the same percentage.

Despite the month-on-month drop in new single-family home sales, the numbers were up 12.3% over last year, according to the US Commerce Department. July existing home sales increased at the highest annual pace of the year, according to a monthly report released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), but remain 4.3% below the year-ago level.

Major US producers include Arkema, BASF and Dow Chemical.

By Larry Terry